Employees getting confused and offended by email

Moster email envelope

A third of British workers are getting the wrong end of the stick when it comes to email, mistakenly getting offended by something intended to do anything by that.

So claims research by GMX, who added that the good news is more of us are using email to boost our productivity since the recession started biting.

While one in three say they regularly get bad emotion-causing emails, some 41 per cent of employees have gotten upset or offended by speed reading emails or just misunderstanding them altogether in the past year, according to the GMX Email and Work study.

"The problem with email, compared with face to face communication or telephone calls, is that we have no tone of voice or body language to help us interpret the message," said internet psychologist Graham Jones, in a statement.

"Take time to think about a message just received, rather than just bashing out a reply which you later regret once you've had time to interpret what the sender was trying to say."

He added: "Far too often people try to make their emails too formal and that makes it difficult for the receiver to really interpret what is being said. If you write an email as though you were talking to that person, you will be much more likely to succeed".

In addition, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) of us get worried when replies to messages we've sent aren't speedy enough.

"Whilst keeping on top of a bulging inbox is a common pressure for many workers, the research shows that unnecessary stress and upset caused by misinterpreting emails can be just as problematic," said Eva Heil, managing director of GMX, in a statement.

"As well as managing our email efficiently, it can pay dividends to learn to interpret our work emails more closely."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.