Unpleasant emails can affect a person’s work and have ripple effects at home, according to a recent study. (iStock)

Email incivility affects work and partners too: study

A new study shows that frequent rude or ill-timed emails negatively affect employees and can affect their partners. A survey of 167 dual-earner couples shows that when employees get a greater number of emails that are nasty in tone or content or are ill-timed, they discuss it with partners over the weekend and they tend to withdraw from work the following week. They and their partners too, tended to put in less effort at work or take more frequent breaks.

Email may be annoying in tone, content or timing

“We’ve all received emails that say something like ‘with all due respect’ or ‘as you already know.’ It just gets people’s backs up, that…passive-aggressive language,” says Mark Ellwood, a productivity consultant and president of Pace Productivity.

Email may also have hurtful content. It may point out something that was done incorrectly or try to correct someone’s behaviour. Ellwood says that kind of message “doesn’t go over well in an email.” As well, emails may be annoying when they come in the middle of the night or when no reply comes for an extended period.

Mark Ellwood suggests people think twice before hitting the send button.


It could be you, says consultant

To combat the problem, Ellwood says people must first recognize that they themselves may be the one sending unpleasant emails. He suggests that before hitting the send button, people reread the missive they have written and try to imagine how they would feel upon receiving it themselves.

He also suggests managers train staff on how to handle emails or that they have employees work together to create an email code of conduct.

When meeting someone in person, it is easier to pick up cues from their facial expressions and body language, and communication is more efficient, says Mark Ellwood. (iStock)

Face-to-face meetings can clear things up

In the meantime, he suggests people who receive a negative email, think before writing back. “Instead of responding to something that’s rude or angry in the same way, you just say ‘I got your email. Can we get together and have a meeting? Can I give you a phone call?’

So, Ellwood suggest using those alternate ways of communicating rather than just relying on email. That will likely help find out what’s really going on.” He concludes that face-to-face meetings provide much more feedback and are a far better way of communicating.

The study was published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Categories: Society
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *