Even though electronic communications options such as chat and texting provide exciting channels for pushing businesses toward unparalleled efficiency and growth, email remains at the heart of the modern corporate environment, enabling both brief or extended discussion and teams to be tied together. Unfortunately, the widespread availability of email sometimes causes workers to lapse in business etiquette and not realize the impact the proper approach to the messages can have.

Poorly Handled Emails Can:

• Decrease the amount of work done, and therefore, hurt your bottom line.

When emails become too casual or are directed with preference to certain individuals on your team, the messages can distract both the sender and recipient. The greater degree of intimacy make it seem appropriate to spend work time addressing non-work areas. Less effort goes toward projects at hand, so efficiency and productivity both suffer.

• Cause conflicts.

If an employee notices that a boss or coworker uses an inconsistent tone or approach in emails from worker to worker, the employee might become frustrated or even retaliate because they believe favoritism is keeping them from project assignments, promotions, bonuses, or other opportunities. Projects might take longer than expected to finish because these bad feelings create tension on your team, especially if the dispute is hot enough to warrant bringing a human resources representative in to resolve the problem.

• Compromise your company’s security.

Emails that lack an appropriate level of formality can make the sender or recipient feel as though it is appropriate to send emails from non-company addresses. Communicating via these addresses means it’s much more difficult for the business to monitor, save, secure, or legitimately share the data included. If the data is not secure, your company might lose valuable ideas or facts to competitors, increase the risk of lawsuits, or have to recover from a loss of consumer trust. For this same reason, it’s vital to think hard about who needs to get the message, and to take extra precautions when dealing with sensitive or confidential information.

• Give a negative impression of your abilities, skills, and goals.

Sending emails that lack flow, ramble, have poor grammar or syntax, or contain spelling errors offer the message that you’re unfocused and don’t care about the work you’re doing. They also can communicate an air of laziness, ignorance, and insufficient education. None of these attributes are going to make people want to give you a chance with harder and higher-paying projects and positions.

Properly Handled Emails Can:

• Strengthen essential business relationships.

A concise, truthful, and well-composed email communicates that you are serious about your job and company. When coworkers or other business people believe you value your work and those on your team, they are more likely to trust you. That trust allows you to forge deeper professional relationships that can let you move forward in your career, gain funding support, or become more innovative.

• Save you money.

Email does not require you to print anything out, although you can make hard copies of messages as needed. It is also a fast medium through which to communicate. You don’t have to worry about extra costs such as ink or stamps, and your team can complete projects with better efficiency, avoiding overtime expenses and fees related to missed contract or purchase deadlines.

• Help recipients understand you and stay focused.

Business emails are sent to a plethora of individuals for a huge range of reasons. If you tailor your message to each recipient or group, speaking their language, they’ll grasp the meaning of your content faster and won’t get distracted by superfluous information.

• Create a tangible and reproducible record.

Email creates an electronic paper trail of what you’re working on in your business. With your data in writing, you have something to refer to in the event you are confused or need to resolve a conflict. You also can look back at the emails to track progress, generate reports, or analyze ways to improve. The fact that the record is easily created, shared, and backed up is a bonus.

Options such as chat and texting are changing the business landscape, but email still has an enormous influence on today’s companies. Putting some conscious thought and attention into how you construct and send your messages can make all the difference in your individual and company success.