When It Comes to Work, Email or Text?

September 8, 2015

Career Advice

2660204217_27ddec5e34_oCommunication at the workplace has gotten trickier and trickier. How do you talk with your boss these days? Face-to-face? E-mail? Phone call? Text message? Skype or Face Time if you work from home?

In the olden days, popping into your boss’s office was the way to get seen, be seen, and be in the scene. But that’s not the way it works anymore. Two major communication tools have risen to the top—e-mail and text message—and they definitely have their own etiquette rules. Here’s a guide to help you brush up on the dos and don’ts:

E-mail still reigns supreme when it comes to business communication. This should be your preferred form of communication when the need for a response is not immediate. It gives the receiver a chance to respond on his/her own time and prioritize their order of response as they’d like. It can easily be used when informing many people thanks to the “CC:” and “BCC:” functions. But don’t overuse those features. Email is more efficient than spending extra time on the phone and it’s perfect for scheduling calls or meetings, as well as documenting important information and conversations in a digital paper trail. 

Texting is a little slipperier. This is a casual tool for communication. BE CAREFUL. You should only text your boss if the two of you have discussed it in advance, and it’s their preferred form of communication. Think about it! Would you call your boss at home? Probably not. In many ways, texting is reminiscent of phone calls—it’s interruptive, it tends to require a response (or at least makes you think it does), and others in the room are often alerted when a text comes in. There’s an immediacy associated with texting. And over time, it can become an annoyance. Make sure to only text if it’s a mandatory piece of information that the boss needs to know, or when you require an immediate response.

With both e-mailing and texting, don’t assume because of someone’s age that they are for one type of communication over the other. It’s not hard to find outliers from each generation that go against the grain.

Check out this article from Time.com for more tips on using text as a business form of communication.

Image via Jason Rogers/Flickr

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About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

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