We haven’t talked about women and work email in a while — and then it occurred to me that we really haven’t discussed all the other forms of written and online communication in the working world. So, what are your thoughts on work communication etiquette in 2023? What rules have you established to make your work communication reflect your personal brand (e.g., tone? grammar?), and what rules have you established for purposes of work-life boundaries?
So, some questions for everyone:
- In work email, what is your preferred signoff? When do you use last names and honorifics vs. first names? Do you have rules about when to CC vs. BCC someone? How do you pay attention to tone in your emails, if at all? (Do you have personal rules for when you check emails, or which emails you get notifications for on your screen or phone?)
- In messages on MS Teams, Slack, or other dedicated messaging apps, how proper is your grammar, capitalization, and spelling? Are you a fan of emojis or gifs? Do you feel like there’s an etiquette around @-ing someone to bring them into the conversation, or about silencing your notifications in a way that is obvious to your coworkers? In general, do you prefer to be “always available” via the messaging apps, or do you have set times each day where you check in to see new conversations and weigh in on older ones?
- Text messages and work-related communications: Do you do it, and if so how often? (Does it matter if you have a dedicated phone for work-related communiques?) How proper is your grammar, etc., in texting? Group texts: yea or nay?
- (related: in Zooms and video communications, do you always have your camera on? How proper is your grammar, etc., in private DMs with coworkers as well as when asking a written question or giving a general statement?)
(And for all of this: Do you notice any sort of divide among your coworkers, bosses, and subordinates, whether generational or otherwise?)
My Rules around Work Communications
For my own $.02, I feel like a lot of these work communications come down to boundaries — but also office culture!
For emails, I keep seeing the meme (and relating to it hard) about how “I have said something serious, so I am putting a period. But we’re friendly so I’m going to follow it with an exclamation! Signing off in the friendliest possible way, xx.” So I still do feel weird about tone, but maybe that’s me. (My go-to signoff is generally “Best,” but a lot of times work-related emails are without greetings or signoffs these days.)
We at Corporette use Slack, and I don’t have too many rules around it — I use proper grammar sometimes but I frequently just use lowercase thoughts. I do like emojis for tone (and yes, I totally overuse the sideways laughing emoji face) — but I’ll only use a gif if I’m thinking of something very specific and can find it quickly.
For text messages, I’ve always held that at the farthest distance from me for work-life boundaries — I have texted with coworkers, even back in my lawyer days, but for work-related things I prefer to keep communications relatively minimal. I also feel like text messages should have a measure of urgency (but obviously not as much as an actual phone call).
For Zooms, if I’m one of many people on a call, then I’ll usually turn my camera off if possible — if and when I write anything in the chat, it tends to be more on the casual side.
Readers, how about you? What are your thoughts on the etiquette around work communication these days? What rules have you established to make your work communication reflect your personal brand (e.g., tone? grammar?), and what rules have you established for purposes of work-life boundaries?