5 Things I Hate in Work Emails

Some of you may think that this list is just me being a pedantic grump. But just like that annoying friend of a friend you secretly hate seeing at a party (the one who says “supposably” and spills red wine on your neck), I’m quite certain we all have our email pet peeves, especially at work.

Don’t you hate it when…

…You Get Snowed by an E-valanche?

That’s an email avalanche, by the way. Being pelted by dozens of emails when all information could have been sent in a single email — that really grinds my gears.

As an account manager at a content agency, I frequently get up to 50 emails a day, and about 90 percent of that needs a reply. So if it’s possible for you to send me one or maximum two emails about the same topic in a day, you’ll automatically make it into my Christmas card list.

Now, if you’d like to send me real-time progress updates, feel free to send me a text message or call me. It’s nice to have a break from emails occasionally. Phone calls, after all, are where problems are really solved. As my learned fellow project manager Ellen Bone says, “I learnt years ago that if a client sends you a 'howler', take a deep breath and pick up the phone.”

…Mystery Autoreplies Keep You Guessing?

Using “I'm away from x until x”, but not being clear about when they’re actually back — ‘tis a mystery that would keep Sherlock himself befuddled. If you say, “I’m away until Friday the 5th”, does that mean I can contact you on Friday? Or are you actually back into the office on Monday?

Maybe you’re gone Monday to Friday (end of day), which means you’re not coming in on Friday and won’t even bother replying until Happy Hour on Monday, as you had such a nice holiday and don’t want to deal with this psycho account manager yet. That’s cool. Just be warned that if I don’t hear back from you within 48 business hours, I’m calling 999. 

…It Becomes the Blind Leading the Blind?

BCC — an email blind carbon copy (BCC) — should only be used when you want to send an email to a group of people, but don’t want to reveal all the recipients’ email addresses.

Much like seeing your boss in a Speedo would creep you out, it’s just disconcerting to see informal closing remarks in a work email."

But confusion rears its ugly head when you put me on BCC without giving me context of why I’m even receiving this email in the first place. For this, please use the forward button, and talk to me. Clue me in on what you want me to do with this information. Maybe even give me an awesome spy codename.

…Errors Pop Up Like Landmines?

Saying “feedbacks” and “revert back” is nails on chalkboard to me. There’s no such thing as feedbacks. It’s just feedback. Revert means to go back to a previous state — adding “back” after “revert” is redundant. Using “revert back” when you mean “reply” or “get back” to someone about something — is simply incorrect.

…It’s, Like, Totes Casual?

I know some people hate cliché signoffs, like Regards, Thanks, Cheers. But much like seeing your boss in a Speedo would creep you out, it’s just disconcerting to see informal closing remarks in a work email. The ones that irk me most? Love, Kisses (I’m not sure rows of x’s belong in office communications), Ta, Yours, and God Bless.

So there you go; my top five email pet peeves. Do you agree or disagree with the list? Want to share your own email irks and quirks? Tweet us @JohnBrownNovus and @chrizlarin.

Love & kisses*,


*Just kidding!