Top 10 workplace etiquette rules for communication. Work-related emails sent after hours are stressing employees out and here’s what appropriate office etiquette looks like in a digital age.

Ninety-seven percent of employees receive work-related emails after hours and most feel obligated to respond promptly, according to research by

Workplace Etiquette: Should You Send Work-Related Emails After Hours?

Nearly 35 percent of employees are stressed out by work communications after hours. Millennials were most likely to feel anxious about late-night work correspondence. Research by Adobe found white-collar workers between the ages of 25 to 34 spend more than six hours a day checking their email. More than a third of them check their email right when they get up, before they’ve even gotten out of bed.

Worker accessibility after hours is a relatively new phenomenon that thought leaders and lawmakers are evaluating. New York was the first to consider a law that would bar employers from requiring employees to check emails after hours.

Employees are more connected than ever because of the digital revolution and as such, they’re more likely to be affected by one another’s behavior. What are the new rules?

Top 10 Workplace Etiquette Rules for Communication

  1. Don’t Use a Speakerphone. Roughly 70 percent of employees found using a speakerphone in a shared or open office to be unacceptable. If it’s a call you need to take hands-free, use a headset or find a private room to avoid distracting your coworkers.
  2. Gossiping Isn’t Good Team Building. Talk about the weather, sports, upcoming events, or send a sweet GIF, but whatever you do don’t fall into gossiping as a way to relate with coworkers.
  3. DON’T USE ALL CAPS. Using all caps indicates an aggressive tone, or a lack of digital skills, neither of which will be appreciated by coworkers. The only time caps are acceptable in the workplace is when you are sending “CONGRATULATIONS!” to celebrate an achievement.
  4. Reply Carefully. More than 60 percent of employees consider it poor workplace etiquette to hit reply-all to emails. This rule requires some finesse. Don’t reply all to an email asking for your order for the staff lunch. Do reply all to a department-wide update to make sure everyone knows you’re on the same page.
  5. Politics Aren’t Welcome.
    More than half of employees think it’s inappropriate to discuss politics in the workplace. Even if you think your political interests are aligned with your coworkers, it’s best to keep politics or off the clock.
  6. Silence Your Phone. You’re going to compulsively check your phone at least once every half hour anyway, do you really need a ringtone or vibration for every notification? Your coworkers certainly don’t think you do.
  7. Don’t Copy the Whole Team. Before sending an email ask yourself: who needs to see this? If it’s not something that the entire organization needs to know, there’s no reason why everyone should be copied. Be more selective when sending general correspondence to coworkers.
  8. Take Calls When You’re Available. It should be clear that taking a call while going to the bathroom is poor workplace etiquette, but roughly 45 percent of employees think it’s still worth mentioning. It’s embarrassing to have to reschedule a call because of your bladder,  but it’s far more uncomfortable for everyone involved to be on a call while you’re using the restroom.
  9. Use Styles Appropriately. Forty percent of workers think the improper use of bolds or italics in work communications is unacceptable. This is somewhat similar to using all caps in the way that it could convey an unintended tone. Bold/italics also have a tendency to draw the attention of the eye, so if a random word is bolded or italicized it can be confusing and distract viewers from the message itself.
  10. Keep Your Jokes to Yourself. More than a third of employees think it’s poor workplace etiquette to send joke emails to the entire team. It really depends on your work culture whether or not it’s appropriate to send joke emails, but the important qualifier here is ‘to the entire team.’ Rarely, if ever, will there be an occasion for you to send an unsolicited joke email to your entire organization.  

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