Reply-all, just don't do it


Take a moment to consider whether you should press that little “Reply All” button.

It might seem convenient at first to just respond to an email conversation with reply-all, but doing so has its drawbacks.

When you reply-all you run the risk of inciting an entire conversation and kicking off a discussion and dialogue that could have been handled in a much more economical and appropriate way than over email.  In addition, the subject of a conversation might not be relevant to an entire team of people and that by doing a quick reply-all over email you magnify the visibility of your typos and content mistakes.

When an email topic is not relevant to everyone, it burdens others with irrelevant information. It can be exasperating to click through a series of emails try try to determine why you were included, but at the same time there is also pressure to read through each email with the consideration that you were copied to the email list.

Most people recognize that email chains from multiple senders and recipients is a messy waste of space and generally clutter up your inbox, but many of us contribute the problem and often forget how expensive and burdensome it is to businesses.  In fact, 28% of employee time is spent on our emails alone in the workplace, according to a report from The McKinsey Global Institute.  That time wasted on reading through reply-all messages translates to plenty of wasted money.

So, don't be the person in the office who responded “thanks” or “I agree” to the rest of the group. Just like every person matters, every conversation and every word matters too.  If the content is not pertinent to the group, what is the point of replying back to every single person rather than just the sender?

Reply-all feature may seem like an effective way to communicate with multiple people – but the issues that arise from this email attribute aren't always worth the cost of your colleagues  time.  So next time you feel tempted reply all, just don't do it.  If you decide to anyway, than we recommend that you do so carefully and review some etiquette suggestions about the feature.