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The 5 Rules On How Fast to Reply to Emails at Work...

Everything you do at work has what I'll call "organizational gravity."

The people you joke around with.  Who you report to.  Co-workers you eat lunch with.  Careers are made by associating with the right people.

Once you get away from the importance of the people you hang out with and report to at work, there's nothing that says more about you than how you handle email.

Are you someone that's uber-responsive to email at work?  Or are you someone that has a hard time responding to anything?

What if I told you that neither of those tags is either right or wrong?

As it turns out, you can get a negative reputation for being hyper responsive to email as easily as being non-responsive.  That means a review of the rules for dealing with email are in order.

Here's the Capitalist's 5 Golden Rules of How Fast to Reply to Emails at Work:

1.  The right timeliness in responding to an email is always around the half day mark, or 4-5 hours.  Why?  Because if you consistently reply to email as soon as it comes to you, people start thinking you have a lot of time to respond to email, which is not always positive.  Also, the 4-5 hour delay is generally viewed as responsive without putting you in the Rainman category.

2. Adjust your responsiveness window for the person who sent the email.  Your boss, and his/her boss, get immediately responses.  Peers in other departments get pushed out to the 4-5 hour guideline, and people below your level get responses in the 24 hour window.  You're saying that someone else is important, and also that you're important with these windows.  

3. Never be the first one - in fact, always be one of the last ones in on a CC reply-fest.  It's easy to shoot something off quickly when there's a bunch of CCs, but you learn more by watching the mosh pit than going in early and showing your emotional instability.  Watch, learn and be late in responding - at which time you'll look smart as hell.

4. Send fewer responses overall to email.  The older I get, the fewer emails I send in response to something that pisses me off.  It can be held against you when you become a combustible force on Outlook.  Context is lost on email - got talk to someone or pick up the phone.  Your outcomes will be 100% better.

5. Wait two days, then send the best type of response someone can get - a note of recognition.  Use their email, wait - then reply to them with a note to their boss about their handling of a project, a person, a client - whatever.  It's gold. Remember - wait to make sure nothing blows up.

These are the Capitalist rules for how quick to reply to emails.  Do this and prosper.

Be the ball, Danny.


Pooja @ Mettl

It's amazing how many people lack email etiquette. These are some good pointers to keep in mind, and might I add, not difficult to practice. My favorite has to be ' send fewer responses overall.'
Here's to a clutter-free inbox to everyone in 2015!

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