Monday, October 27, 2008

Reply vs. Reply To All – When it’s okay to let everyone know your feelings

My office, like many other offices around the United States, uses the program Microsoft Outlook to organize all of our e-mails. It is actually a pretty decent program that has become more familiar to me than most of my cousins.

Anywho…I have one major issues with Microsoft Office and I guess it has more to do with the people who use it. See, when a group e-mail goes out asking for your opinion on something, the logical idea is to reply to the sender and tell them. But the people in my office seem to be addicted to the “Reply To All” option and use it way too freely.

There is nothing more irritating than a companywide e-mail going out and then having 20 follow-up e-mails by coworkers.

And while this happens on almost a daily basis my favorite example came about a year ago. As part of the Fun Committee we decided to send out an e-mail to the 100 employees that are under the umbrella of the Fun Committee to see if anyone had any ideas for fun events.

And instead of just replying to the Fun Committee, about 30 people hit “Reply To All” and let the entire group know their not-so-fun ideas. It then got worse when people replied to these ideas by hitting “Reply To All” and we were then overwhelmed with a bunch of e-mail conversations that no one wanted to be a part of. (I even remember that an argument started between two co-workers about who came up with the idea of going to Great America first. That was fun…)

So about 99% of the time you get an e-mail “Reply” is the valid option, and if you’re not sure, just ask yourself “Will the people in the office benefit from my input?”

If the answer is no, then maybe you shouldn’t reply at all.

~The Office Scribe

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