Written by Dave Cullen
On the back of a recent article in the Daily Mail around office etiquette, Peter Cosgrove, Director at Cpl spoke with Fionn Davenport on the Tom Dunne show around this topic. Fionn Davenport asks the question, is an ‘X’ (denoting a kiss) at the end of a work email ever acceptable? Peter states that in most a cases he would say ‘no’, because you can never know for sure how someone is going to take it. Peter highlights that with the blurring of the personal and the business environments it can be a challenge to keep persona’s separate from professional behaviour.
“So much more of our life can be somewhat online, whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter or even in Text”, explained Peter. “Therefore email can become part of that, we just need to be able to differentiate between what’s professional and what’s personal”. He went on to say that it is very important to ensure business emails are not interspersed with ‘xxoo’ or ‘LOL’, even if they are meant to be light hearted and well intentioned.
There is no doubt that things like kisses at the end of an email may be misconstrued and should be avoided. The recent PwC case, which got a number of employees in trouble, only really became public when someone sent the email outside of the PwC network. Peter recommends vigilance and sensitivity when constructing an email. You never know when your email will be forwarded onto someone else, it is important to differentiate what is acceptable and what isn’t. Not all recipients will interpret your email in the same way, especially because tone of voice cannot be expressed in the written word.
Peter highlights that given many long hours spent in the office, people will develop strong friendships with their work colleagues. It is inevitable that a relaxed and informal rapport will emerge over time. As a rule of thumb if you have any doubt about a comment you are about to make like, “Oh I see you have lost weight”, it is prudent to avoid saying it altogether.
In a business environment, the importance of how others perceive us is a vital factor in our career advancement. In aspiring for that elusive promotion, we must endeavour to build a reputation based on professionalism and respect. This is why it is important for employees to be careful what views they express or remarks they make. You never know what opinion certain key decision makers will form based on your conduct. “You never know where your email is going to go”, Said Peter. “It might be forwarded on to somebody else more senior, it does kind of give a representation of yourself that you may not want.”