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Email Management and Thoroughly Reading Emails

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We admit it. We love it when social media reveals workplace frustration. Here’s another one fired off via Twitter.

The name of this user is @meghanefreeman. On January 24, she published these words onto theInternet:

This may come as a shock but if you READ the highlighted part of the email I sent you, you wouldn’t need to ask those questions. Oh Monday

Oh, Meghan, our consultants feel your pain! Although your anger wasn’t enough to get you arrested on suspicion of twitter terrorism, you are clearly frustrated. And though your comments are negative, they probably won’t damage your workplace productivity. In fact, you remind us most of another comment our productivity consultants reviewed on Twitter. Yes, you have every right to be upset.

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© Flickr user Peter Alfred Hess

We know what happened. You sent an email, and you even highlighted the important text. Perhaps you bolded a certain section. Then, someone else (probably a manager, otherwise you would not have shared with Twitter) asked you a question that you already answered! Result: Frustration.

Thanks for sending this to Twitter, Meghan, so we could blog about it. But if we may: this is an opportunity to improve productivity and satisfaction.

If someone asks you a question that you’ve already answered, don’t get upset. Try not to assume that they are lazy and pulling a two taxi on you, even though this is the most likely scenario.

Instead, consider the possibility that something else went wrong. Maybe the server ate your email, which would be pretty serious indeed. Maybe the other person is frazzled and needs some moral support. Maybe they are asking a question which comes from their boss and needs to get a direct answer straight from the expert. Perhaps you didn’t write the email quite as clearly as you originally thought. Give it another read just to make sure it isn’t a problem on your end. None of these are likely, but they are all less judgmental. Bring them up in a new medium by calling or visiting the person:

You: Mr. Jones, I am sorry to interrupt you, but I’m really concerned about the email you just sent me. I think we might have a serious technical issue on our hands and I just want to confirm it with you.

Mr. Jones: Go ahead, what is it?

You: I printed out a copy of the email from my end to show you. Now keep in mind this is my end, I am concerned it might look different on your end. You can see here at the bottom where I highlighted part of the text. Then, above this is your reply where you ask the exact question answered in the text. My concern is that maybe on your computer, my highlighted text didn’t appear.

Mr. Jones: Yes, I didn’t see that.

You: Well, if our computer systems are randomly deleting parts of emails, that could be a serious problem. That’s why I wanted to bring it to your attention. Do you want me to follow up with IT or will you do it?

Mr. Jones: I, uh, will take care of it. Thank you.

There you are, Meghan. And for the rest of you, send us your frustrated workplace tweets! Or, your frustrated Facebook exchanges about employee satisfaction. We are not picky. We love to hear about office productivity challenges and love to help make a positive difference. And if you find your problems to be recurring ones that get in the way of productivity, consider reaching out to our business improvement consultants. We’d love to find a way to help!

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