20 Rules Of Workplace Email Etiquette With Examples

The email has become an essential workplace communication tool, but when misused can lead to problematic situations.

I’m sure you have also heard some problems caused or exacerbated by poor communication or other violations of the e-mail tag.

In fact, the lack of email etiquette can not only create problems at work but also tarnish your image and that of your department.

When exchanging email, you should follow some basic rules of etiquette, especially in the workplace.

If you really want to have a deeper sense of email etiquettes through which you can demonstrate the respect you have towards your recipient and also pass your information in the best possible way, you can take an in-depth email etiquette course from Zoe Talent Solutions.

It is in this context that I want to share with you some tips that you can apply to improve your professional email communications. Some seem to be a simple matter of logic, but you should also keep them in mind.

So, let’s go step by step.

A good email structure should have the following components:

1. The Call: A Must To Start An Email

It is so unthinkable to write a letter to a client, a colleague or a friend without introducing it with an appeal.

An email is usually a short text and really necessary to use some form of etiquettes.

The protocol advises against following the title of civility by the last name. For example – Hello, John. Assuming John is the last name.

Similarly, the formula of use “Madam,” seems cold.

However, it remains very pleasant to receive a personalized email.

When a word such as “Hello” precedes the title of civility, the full stop (dot) must be used.

For example: “Hello, sir.”

It is recommended to use “Hello”, followed by the first name of the recipient.

It is suggested to write “Sir,” “Dear Madam,” or “Dear Julie,” followed by a comma and not a full stop.

In addition, be sure to spell the recipient’s name correctly. An error, even in good faith, committed in the name of a person could be considered a personal attack by the recipient, which would give a negative tone to the email before even having approached the bottom.

Greetings like “Hi” or “Hello” are reserved for friends and family members.

Similarly, you should not use a nickname or abbreviation of the first name (for example, Rob instead of Robert), unless you have been authorized to do so.

Read: How to succeed in business like a professional

2. The Opening Salutation

email etiquette includes a good salutation
20 Workplace Email Etiquette Rules With Examples

Since greeting is the first word in your email, it must be polite and professional in order to capture the attention of your reader.

Examples are:

  • I hope this email finds you well.
  • I hope your week is going fine.
  • Hope you had a good night sleep.
  • I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

However, if you are trying to do a follow-up, you could come up with examples such as:

  • As we discussed earlier, I want to ask if the documents are ready.
  • Can you provide me with an update of the documents requested?
  • To follow up on the meeting we had on the 2nd of December, is there any progress?

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3. The Choice Of An Email Address: A question of credibility

I cannot stress enough how important it is to choose an email address that does not look like a teenager joke!

Do not get me wrong – a joeblow28@gmail.com style address will not protect you from phishing anymore. You can only control that by being cautious and disciplined as regards the communication of your personal details to others.

A more important reason to have an appropriate email address is for swift identification. Your email address should allow recipients to identify you quickly.

It could consist of, for example, your last name and the first letter of your first name, or your full name and surname e.g. Johnkings100@gmail.com

4. The Subject Line Of Mention

The subject line is meant to give the recipient an idea of ​​the content of your email.

In fact, most people quickly browse their inboxes and choose which messages to open based on the subject line.

It is therefore important that the subject line remains brief and reflects the message you want to communicate. e.g. Your Copywriting Project – Sales that give you 7 digits.

That being said, you should avoid using the subject line as a text message.

Someone once typed the entire brief email in the subject line and did not bother to write anything in the body of the email.

It is not only annoying, but it can also be considered laziness.

If your email is short enough to be inserted into the subject line, it may be better to use a live conversation or a phone call to communicate your message.

Read: How to apologize for a mistake in a professional way

5. The Structure Of Content

Email content should speak etiquette
20 Workplace Email Etiquette Rules With Examples

Since e-mail is used for short, concise communication, it is recommended that if your message is more than one page, you should send it as an attachment.

Obviously, e-mails should be free of mistakes and you should avoid the use of smileys, contractions or colloquial speech such as

  • pretty much
  • ain’t
  • gonna
  • I’m

Similarly, you should avoid using text abbreviations in a business email unless you have an informal relationship with the recipient.

Read: How to get a job without work experience

6. Don’t Mix Up The Subjects Of The Emails

You need to stick to a subject by email to make it easier to follow a conversation on a particular topic.

When you discuss a topic in various e-mail exchanges with different subject lines, it becomes difficult to keep track of it.

For example, do not include in the same email topics such as sick leave, Project X updates and feedback on a new pay system.

7. Double-check The Recipient

The email is designed so that the email address of your recipient is the first thing you write when you want to send an email message.

However, this procedure is not necessarily the right one to follow.

Here’s why: once your recipient’s email address is entered, if you click “Send”, accidentally or not, your message will be sent, whether complete or not.

That’s why I suggest you add your recipient’s email address after completing the message and checking that everything is in order.

It will also help you to crosscheck the email address to avoid sending your message to the wrong person.

Read: The fascinating importance of your handwriting

8. Language

Take note of the language of the recipient
20 Workplace Email Etiquette Rules With Examples

Since the way you communicate is as important as the message itself, here are some things you need to remember when you compose the body of your email to ensure that the message and the tone are good.

You must use clear and concise language to avoid confusion and unnecessary back-and-forth.

In indirect communication such as email, it is difficult to dispel misunderstandings and sometimes it takes long messages to be understood.

You should also take note of the writing style of the recipient and the use of language in his or her country. The spellings of certain words in Britain are quite different from spellings in the United States.

9. Avoid Using Unnecessary Exclamations And Jokes

You don’t need to write a couple of exclamation marks to show how urgent or pressing the call to action is.

An email should be straight to point without trying to overdo things. You should also try to avoid humour that can be easily misinterpreted.

Something said funnily might not sound funny when written in text. You will agree with me that this happens often when you have an informal chat with someone online.

If this can happen on social media platforms, then it can also be misinterpreted anywhere else. I’m sure you don’t want your emails to be seen as some form of jokes.

Read: 20 incredibly easy ways to achieve customer satisfaction

10. Tone

Your tone should show some etiquette
20 Workplace Email Etiquette Rules With Examples

It is also recommended to keep a friendly tone and avoid sending emotional messages. This is especially important if you are angry with your supervisor or a situation makes you unhappy or unhappy.  

In the same vein, you should refrain from using any phrase or proverbs that can get lost in interpretation without the right tone and good facial expression. This can have undesirable consequences.

11. Grammar rules and Adaptation

Try to stay calm and refrain from using capital letters to show how much your anger is great or how much emphasis you want to express. Stick to grammar rules. Additionally, if you communicate often with someone, you must adapt to his style and tone.

For example, if this person sends you short e-mails, it may mean that she is busy; do not send long e-mails unless absolutely necessary. If you need to send a long email, be sure to include a brief summary.

12. Urgency And Formatting

In addition to language and tone, there are other tips and tricks to keep in mind to improve your emails.

Give your e-mail a high priority only when it’s really urgent. However, don’t use it too often.

By using this feature too often, it may become less valuable and few people will take your messages seriously. To avoid this, grab your recipient’s attention by choosing an eye-catching subject line.

Avoid formatting your message by using special fonts that you would not use in a regular letter.

The recipient may not have a system that can display the message as it appears on your own. Whenever possible, use classic fonts like Times New Roman and Arial. You should also use paragraphs to organize your ideas in your email.

Read: Fast-track your productivity with these amazing apps

13. Review

Email etiquette should reflect a good review
20 Workplace Email Etiquette Rules With Examples

It is strongly recommended that you review and re-read your email before sending it.

Obviously, if you send an e-mail full of spelling mistakes and sloppy language, the recipient might feel that you lack professionalism and are careless. It could also tarnish the image of your ministry.

If you attach a document to your email, you must always mention it so that your recipient does not forget it. For example – “I would be grateful if you read it ASAP and let me know if I forgot something”.

Additionally, if you mention an attachment in your email, make sure you do not forget to attach it.

14. CCs and BCCs

Regarding recipients, you should exercise caution when using CCs and BCCs.

The addresses you type in the “To” field are those of the people you want to take action, but the ones you type in the Bcc field are those who you think should take note of the message, without necessarily acting.

Before adding colleagues to your Cc list, ask yourself if it is appropriate to do so. Use the Bcc function only when you do not want other people to see who else the email was sent to.

Similarly, when replying to an email, use the “Reply All” feature only if you feel that everyone on the list needs to receive the email. Avoid cluttering the inboxes of others with unsolicited communications.

Read: The Simplest Ways To Make The Best Of Oral Presentations

15. The Use of ITC and “Reply All”

The “Invisible True Copy”, commonly known as the “BCC”, should always be used when your email has multiple recipients.

The BCC is used to avoid publicizing the email of your contacts without their consent.

The “Reply All” function, meanwhile, should be used only at the request of the sender and when the number of recipients is reasonable.

That is to say less than 10 recipients. However, this only works for CC (copied publicly). If you have blind copied (BCC), the “Reply All” function will not be applicable.

Beyond that, it is ideal that the sender present to all the recipients, in a single message, a report of the answers he has received.

16. The Final Salutation

How to conclude an email or other conversation affects the impression the recipient will have of you. It is, therefore, good to finish with a courtesy form that corresponds to the tone and content of your email. Here are some that you can adopt:

General business emails:

  • Friendships / All my love
  • Accept the expression of my distinguished feelings
  • Sincerely
  • Yours / Best wishes / Best regards

You can also use informal formulas such as:

  • Thank you
  • Have a nice day / a nice weekend / a nice holiday
  • Good day / Good evening

17. Signature

Your signature should reflect email etiquette
20 Workplace Email Etiquette Rules With Examples

It is also recommended to add a signature at the end of your email.

Your recipient can learn more about you and have your contact information.

The signature usually includes your name, position, organization and contact information. You don’t need to add your email address to your signature.

Most organizations have a policy on e-mail signing; do not forget to check the one from your employer.

Finally, the signature should include your first name and last name, the business address and the telephone number to reach you and your company logo. You may also put a face to your name or your social media links. All these can be made easier by using an automatic email signature generators.

Why all this? It is to facilitate communication with your recipients.

If one of them wants to reach you quickly, he will have to go down to the bottom of your email to access all your contact information easily and quickly.

Your customers and employees will greatly appreciate it!


John Kings

Project Manager, Bootcamp Ltd. (linked to the website)


18. Confidentiality

Finally, remember that you cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality, as your employer may find it convenient to read the information sent through their electronic network.

Therefore, you should avoid sending personal information to or from your workplace even if your recipient is someone with whom you have a relationship outside of work.

In addition, e-mails from the Government of some countries are subject to the Access to Information Act and may become part of the public domain as part of a request for information from a journalist or researcher.

A good thing to do is to assume your emails will be seen by all eyes. Hence, don’t write what will hurt others or what is not true.

Read: These tips will help you choose a career path

19. Respond To Your Emails

Good email courtesy demands that you respond to your emails. Don’t just read without getting back to the person who sent you the email.

If you are also the type that leaves your email unopened for a long time, you might eventually miss important information that is time-bound. In order to avoid such occurrences, you could synchronize your emails with your phone so you can get to see them as they come in and categorize them as urgently important or not.

This will also avoid delays and unnecessary backlogs in the workplace. You might have always received an email by mistake. It is appropriate to respond to the sender by letting them know you received their emails by mistake. This will also help the sender to trace back the right person the email should be for.

Read: Good grammar saves lives

20. Use Grammarly

Grammarly, when used as an extension on your personal computer, can help you read errors you might have skipped. It underlines the errors and suggests possible replacements.

The icon (G) changes from red to green when your email is error-free. You can also upgrade to a premium version if you need additional services such as vocabulary enhancement and plagiarism check.

I hope this helps you to begin a revamp on your email structure.

Which of the tips have you been practising?

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Post Author: Abimbola Joseph

Abimbola Joseph is a creative content developer who derives pleasure in encouraging individuals to be the best they can be in all relevant facets of life. She believes that we all have a better version of ourselves which can be leveraged to impact others and make the world a better place. Connect with me on Instagram @abimbolajoe.

One Reply to “20 Rules Of Workplace Email Etiquette With Examples”

  1. These are some great tips, especially with the new age of texting where people seem to be losing their strengths in email writing! Great post!

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