Cyber Decency: Waiting for a Reply

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While email can be an invaluable tool for your business and personal life, it can also be one big pain. According to the New York Times, Judith Kallos of netmanners.com reports that ignored emails are the number one complaint received about Internet troubles. Fortunately, with proper cyber etiquette we could ease email correspondence.

A study on email response was conducted by Dr. Karen Renaud of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow. In the study, 38 percent of the participants waited between one to seven days before responding to an email.

Here are some tips to help resolve email correspondence woes:

The Ignored

Waiting is never fun. Maybe you sent an important email to your boss or coworker and haven’t heard back.  Try not to fret. The speed of the internet has lowered our sense of patience. Remember to apply business hours to emails. If you sent a message at 4:59pm you probably won’t get an answer that same day. If you never receive a reply try politely requesting a confirmation email just to see if they received your previous one.

The Neglector

There are many reasons why you may choose not to respond to an email. Maybe you have a hectic day or maybe thought a response wasn’t necessary. Internet manners dictate that it’s always better to reply, if only to let them know that that the email was received. Respond to an email as soon as you can, don’t put it off. If you’re busy and forgot to respond be honest about it.

The Flash

The world could definitely do with more people who respond to emails as quickly as you do. Yet, there is a downside. Dr. Renaud says that swift email responses may be a sign of stress. When you stop what you’re doing to answer an email or check for new ones you lose your train of that, reducing your productivity. If you feel overwhelmed, send an email to let them know that you’ll send an in-depth reply later.