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Research by an Intern - Email Etiquette - Blog

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Email Etiquette in the Workplace


Email seems to be a method of communication that isn't going away anytime soon. Since its inception in the early 70's, email has continued to be a universal form of communication in the business world. For me personally, I have encountered email as an intern here at JNT Company and throughout my years in college to communicate with superiors, such as professors & management as well as clients & fellow classmates. I often find myself spending about 5-7 minutes on an email, ensuring that I have the proper greeting/salutation, and that my email is crafted in a professional manner. However, I have begun to notice that this much attention to detail is not a universal practice when it comes to email. Is one better than the other? Is drafting the perfect email really that important?? 

I set out to answer these questions. 

What I did:

  • Sent out a survey on my personal facebook & around the JNT office, asking people to answer honestly about how important proper email etiquette is in their specific workplace.
  • I wanted to ensure that a variety of occupations took the survey, in an effort to determine if the importance of email etiquette varies between occupations.

I Got:

Overall, I was decently successful in getting a large number of people to take the survey (53) in variety of occupations including:

  • Marketing & Communications
  • Food Industry
  • Education
  • Medical Field
  • Public Service
  • Students
  • Insurance
  • Construction
  • Journalism
  • Software
  • Freelance writer
  • Nonprofit management
  • Engineering services

I had a big percentage (57.8%) of my survey respondents in the 18-30 age range. Additionally, 15.1% ranging from 41-50 years as well as 51-60 years.

Applicants mostly used GMAIL as their main email platform. (78.8%)


Respondents Current Email Habits

  • 92.5% of people use email DAILY
  • 75% respondents currently USE AN EMAIL SIGNATURE
  • Only 9.6% spent 11-20 minutes on an email (38.5% spend only 5-10 minutes)
  • 80%  Of people use email to COMMUNICATE WITH SUPERIORS  (whereas only 1.9% uses to communicate with friends)
  • Other common uses:
    • 65.4% - Communicate with Clients / Users 
    • 32.7% - Business Inquiries 
    • 59.7% - Scheduling 

The Numbers:

Importance of Proper Email Etiquette  

How important is proper email etiquette in your field?

**Looking at the fields with the highest number of respondents**

  • Medical Field: 80% - Very Important
  • Journalism & Marketing: 50% - Very Important 

Poor email etiquette is something I notice:

  • 66% very strongly agreed 

People who used poor email techniques are less likely to receive a reply from me: 

  • 13 people did not agree 
  • 9 people very strongly agreed 


Applicants were asked to rate how Important these aspects are to a good email:

  • Timely Response: 25/53 - VERY important 
  • Subject Line:15/53 - VERY important 
  • Email Address: 24/53 - VERY important 
  • Salutation (Hello & Goodbye): 15/53 - INDIFFERENT
  • Signature: 15/53 -INDIFFERENT
  • Verbiage/Content: 28/53 - VERY important  


In Conclusion:

After looking at all the data I have collected, I may not have found my exact answer. However, It will change the way I form an email from now on.

With the findings of 66% saying they notice improper email etiquette - I feel as tho spending a decent amount of time on an email is necessary in order for superiors to take me seriously.. Keeping in mind however, that most people are only spending 1-2 minutes on an email.

Tip #1: don't dwell on an email that may be trivial in the grand scheme of things.. chances are it may go unnoticed


Additionally, Verbiage & Content of an email are still very important things to check before pressing the send button Tip #2: PROOF READ.

Your Email Address is also something that 23/53 people said is VERY important therefore:

Tip #3: Make sure your email is professional and applicable to your position or states your name clearly. ( = bad = good!)


To conclude, I will still probably spend too long on an email compared to my peers, however it looks like either way.. I am still going to get a reply. So... I guess the choice is up to you. 

Now get back to work, you have emails to write!!  :)