office communicationModern office communications are increasing moving away from telephone conversations to emails, text messages and instant messaging. Whether you’re trying to work out an agreement with the opposing counsel or corresponding with co-workers or clients there are do’s and don’ts you should consider, according to a study from Kingston University in London. The study was of 28 email users employed by different companies.

Although certain email practices are positive in moderation, if you’re obsessed with checking your emails it may damage your mental health and affect your colleagues, according to the research. Occupational psychologist Dr. Emma Russell states, “This research reminds us that even though we think we are using strategies for dealing with our email at work, many of them can be detrimental to other goals and the people that we work with.”

Dr. Russell has come up with seven deadly email sins that can lead to ‘negative repercussions.’ They are,

  1. Ping pong: Constant emails back and forth creating long chains that seem to trail on forever.
  2. Emailing out of hours: Due to the use of smartphones, anyone can send and receive emails 24/7/365. Although an immediate response makes you look attentive, setting that expectation may make you a slave to your emails. You and your co-workers may become obsessed with staying connected and feel they must always have email access. This inability to shut down and shut off can harm your mental health.
  3. Emailing while in the office: Could you get out of your chair and have a short conversation instead?
  4. Ignoring emails completely: Gives the impression you don’t care (which may or may not be intended).
  5. Requesting read receipts: Does the sender not trust recipients to read emails?
  6. Responding immediately to an email alert: Once you start, will you be able to stop?
  7. Automated replies

You could also cause problems with the content of your emails,

  • As angry or frustrated you may be, you should take a time out before responding to an unhelpful opposing counsel. Don’t write anything you may regret later.
  • Spelling and grammar errors may not be a big deal if texting a friend, but don’t look good when writing to opposing counsel.
  • People have limited time. Stick to the point.

Open communications is key to successful negotiations. Don’t make a mess of it by improper use of emails.