8 biggest email pet peeves

Spam, emoticons and group emails -- most people have a love-hate relationship with email. Here are workers' eight biggest email pet peeves.

email pet peeves

8 biggest email pet peeves

Email is both an incredible workplace communication tool and the bane of most knowledge workers' existence. While it can definitely enhance productivity and communication, the written word often has the potential to misconstrue messages, introduce unnecessary stakeholders into the conversation and generally make your work life more stressful. Based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. knowledge workers who use email, corporate intranet provider Igloo Software has compiled a list of the eight biggest email pet peeves.

1 spam

1. Spam

Whether it's a Nigerian prince or an advertisement for a too-good-to-be-true weight-loss supplement, spam is inevitable. It can also be a gateway to identity theft, hacks and other security concerns, so make sure you've got a good spam filter -- and it's probably best to just delete your great-aunt Lois's latest political forward, too.

81 percent

2 irrelevant emails

2. Irrelevant emails

According to Igloo's research, more than half of respondents say they receive one to 25 emails per day, and another quarter get between 26 and 50 emails per day. When asked how many of those daily emails are relevant to work, three-quarters of respondents said only half of their emails (or even fewer) are relevant. Think twice before you send and make sure the content is relevant to everyone in the address field.

66 percent

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3 obnoxious signature

3. Obnoxious or insincere signature

"Best wishes," "Most sincerely," and "Warmest regards" are huge turn-offs for survey respondents. Try to avoid sounding like a character in a Jane Austen novel and, instead, say nothing, and let your message and your punctuation speak for you. If you feel you must include a sign-off, a simple 'Thanks!' will do just fine.

50 percent

4 lag in response

4. Lag in response time

Did they receive the email? How about now? You've waited an hour, should you call? Oh! There's the response you've been waiting for. While email is supposed to mean instantaneous communication, that doesn't always happen, and it's extremely frustrating to nearly half of survey respondents.

48 percent

5 back to back

5. Back-to-back responses before you've had time to reply

On the flip side, a flurry of emails before you've even had a chance to read, understand, acknowledge and respond to an email is just as infuriating. Before you send a number of one-line missives, take time to think about how you can combine issues, ideas and thoughts into one message.

42 percent

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6 emoticons

6. Emoticons

One of the biggest drawbacks of email is that it lacks the physical and verbal cues that help inform senders' and receivers' understanding of the messages, according to the Harvard Business Review. While it may be tempting to use emoticons to fill that void, the best course of action is to simply state the emotion you wish to convey as clearly as possible; no smiley faces necessary.

27 percent

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7 group emails

7. Group emails

If you're working on a project and need to send a status update to all team members, great. If you're planning a surprise birthday party for a colleague and want to include a large group of people, that's probably fine, too. But see if you can find other ways to communicate with colleagues; collaboration apps, a group chat, document sharing or a face-to-face meeting can be much more productive and efficient at times. And avoid adding names to the address field if they don't have a critical role on a project, or if they aren't directly impacted by the information.

25 percent

8 exclamation points

8. Exclamation points

Make sure you're limiting your use of exclamation points so you don't come across as "shouty," or don't inadvertently convey anger. Professional emails should be clear, concise and measured, so try and avoid excessive exclamations.

22 percent