APU Careers Careers & Learning

Bad Habit Slimdown, Week 9: Reply All

reply_all_bad_habitBy J. Mason
Online Career Tips Editor

Getting a company-wide, or department specific, email sent to your inbox can mean a couple of things…there’s an update that can affect your work status, or they have news on things going on around the company. Most of these emails you’ll read once and then toss; since the purpose is to inform not to retain. Unless a response is requested, directed most likely to one source or an inbox, you are not expected to reply all to the entire group. Every now and again you’ll get the jokester that replies all with a funny comment, or the jovial co-worker that wants to bask in everyone’s joy and publicly share their happiness with everyone. Don’t be that person. If you have a habit of hitting reply all, try a little restraint on the bulk emails and instead just reply to one or two people.

In a community setting there is sometimes the need to belong and pitch in. In the case of sending a reply all message the point is to acknowledge your presence to the entirety of the email chain and to show your support, wit, or displeasure at something. The problem with this is that you’re spamming everyone’s inbox every time you hit that button. If you don’t appreciate being bombarded with messages about special offers, family chain emails, or current events from a RSS feed, then imagine how your colleagues feel seeing multiple emails on a rhetorical message. Restrain your trigger finger on that reply all button and think of a couple other options to satiate your appetite for public wit.

Try the forward button instead, this way you can control who is getting the email. If there really is something humorous you want to share then pick co-workers you know will appreciate it. Otherwise, remember that there is no need to respond to every mass communication you get from someone in your department. If someone gets promoted, email them privately with a congratulations. The time you took to be considerate and single them out will be appreciated. Another thing to consider is watching your gossip on a reply.

If the purpose of your reply is to spread “news” you heard from an unnamed source, then consider keeping it to yourself. Email is archived and is accessible to different personnel within the company. You don’t want to have a couple of strikes against you because there was an itch to share need to know information with a work buddy.

Reserve the right to use reply all in a small email session. If you’re asked by the sender to reply all, so the others in the group can see it, then accommodate the request. Otherwise, opt for hitting forward or reply on that next mass communication at work.

How did you do with our last bad habit, dressing down at work? Even though Spring is on the horizon remember to use tact in your physical appearance at work, don’t dress for a day on the deck.

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