Email requests you should try to avoid (at all costs)!

In our technologically savvy world, emails seem to have taken over our channels of communication, especially at work… And, why not? Emails have allowed us to communicate with our bosses, colleagues and clients from anywhere and at any time, with the option for efficient replies and results. The good old email trail also keeps information documented and accessible. But due to our reliance on these technological devices, it seems some bad habits and unrealistic demands have begun.. And you might not even realise you are doing it.

Here are some key requests you should try to avoid when emailing… and why!

1. Requests for a change in your work routine

These days our work can often provide us with flexibility and choice within our working schedules. If you find you prefer to start a little later, come into the office earlier, work from home or at a different office, that’s usually fine! However, asking your boss for these changes in your work routine is necessary. Now comes the issue of asking for these desired changes….. Email? NO! Asking for something like a routine change at work is not something that should be communicated through email. Why? Well, your boss will most likely want an explanation as to why you want or need this routine change. He or she will also potentially want to hear the reasons behind how this change will benefit not just your work, but also the overall teams’ work and goals. A face-to-face conversation will also allow you to seem sincere and respectful and will allow for a more positive outcome between you and your boss.

2. Is it time for a raise?

Asking for a pay rise can be a tricky task, and not because you don’t necessarily deserve it. It is just a difficult conversation to bring up with your boss, usually because you are scared or nervous of the reply, or because you really, really want this raise and want everything to go perfectly. This type of request needs to be asked in person. The tone of voice, the mood, situation and your delivery of the request are all extremely important factors when asking such a large request. An important note to remember is that these factors cannot be portrayed or received through email (even if you found a bunch of email templates for “asking for a raise” on Google).

3. Please reply ASAP!!

One of the positive attributes of email is the efficient communication route and speedy results. However, due to these fast-past interactions we have become somewhat accustomed to automatic responses, whether it is on email, text message or a phone call. This technological age has caused us to expect radically quick responses, and sometimes these are unrealistic requests. When communicating through any channel, we have to remain realistic, logical and fair in terms of the response time. We have all experienced that frustration when we have not received a reply, that file you were after or that information you needed for a presentation from your co-worker. However, we usually don’t stop to consider whether that co-worker is in a meeting. Or at home due to illness. Or driving. There are many reasons that person hasn’t replied in 20 minutes. The major problem is that we are requesting (well, more like demanding) something from them over email with a tiny timeframe for a result. If you need something from a co-worker it is always best to allow 24-48 hours before you need the result, as it is not our co-worker’s job to be glued to their iPhone/computer waiting for an email from us.

Even though emails only require a click of a button to be sent, we need to think about what content and requests we are sending to people. Some times it is better to get up, walk down the hall and knock on that person’s office door.

 

The art of keeping a clean inbox

With most people having access to their emails from their smartphones, there’s a newfound tendency among the masses to hit refresh every five minutes; fire off emails at all times of the day and night; and respond to emails within a matter of minutes of receiving them.

First thing’s first – allocate time to learn about your email software and set up filters. Once you set up a filter, every email you receive will automatically get filed away into the different folders you’ve created.

When you receive an email, if it only requires a two-word reply or a 30-second response, answer it then and there. If it’s going to require a more considered response, send a quick email back letting the person know you’ve seen it and when you’ll be responding.

In today’s 24/7 world, it may seem easy to squeeze in emails while watching the kids play sport on Saturday – but make a habit of saying no. There will always be emails to answer and people who claim their messages are urgent or important. Drawing the line means you’re not only creating a better work/life balance, chances are you’ll be more productive when you actually need to get down to business.

On the flipside, if you want to get better responses to the emails you’re writing, check out this story from The Australian for the best times to hit send.