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Think twice before you hit send

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Rude work emails are bad for your health and on the rise

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

This may make you think before you hit send. Researchers have found that rude emails can impact your co-workers wellbeing. With increased digital communication due to COVID-19 restrictions, workplaces are feeling the impact with rudeness, studies suggest.

A research study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, says it’s time to start taking “email incivility” seriously. Not all rudeness is deliberate, but it can still grind you down – even to the point of affecting your sleep.

While good communication in the workplace is always a challenge, the shift to home-working has us relying on written communication, which makes misunderstandings more likely. 

Have you noticed a change in your wellbeing when it comes to work communications? 

Workplace email tips

– Give employees the opportunity to switch off. With working from home also comes the opportunity to always be connected to work. Employees need to “psychologically detach” after a day of electronic negativity. 

– Switching off isn’t easy for many workers. This is where management needs to step in and form flexibility and clarity around expectations. Avoid the temptation to send a message at 4:45pm just to test to see who is still online and if a manager emails on a Sunday, they should make it clear that the reply can come on Monday.

– Also try group chats or video conferencing to help lessen the email deluge.

Some companies have policies in place to deal with what is also sometimes called digital harrassment, which can include social media. If you’re unsure, check with your human resources department or an employee handbook, which may have the policies listed. Email isn’t always on the list, but perhaps it should be?

It’s important to remember too that emails remain the property of the company and are usually backed up, so deleting them on your phone or PC may not actually delete them. So in addition to email, maybe take a social media break too?

With files from the World Economic Forum

More Insight: You might also enjoy this article on women managing stress while climbing the corporate ladder.

Author: Jessica Clerke is the digital and social media editor for HUM@Nmedia, the parent brand for Optimyz and is a regular contributor to our print and digital editions.


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