The Psychological Toll of Rude E-mails

Posted on July 28, 2020

For a civilized society, we’re not always so civil. In fact, rudeness is a pervasive problem. In a 2002 report on a study conducted with a large representative sample of 2,013 adults, 88 percent of the general public indicated they had come across rude and disrespectful people on a daily basis. And the workplace is no escape. As the sheer volume of electronic communications has skyrocketed, the problem of “nasty e-mail” is becoming nonnegligible. In fact, more than 90 percent of professionals surveyed in a 2009 study said that they had experienced disrespectful e-mail exchanges at work.

With remote work on the rise, e-mail rudeness warrants even more attention. The burden of smiling into the camera for live videoconferencing can be overwhelming, but resorting to e-mail will not save us from stress. The use of electronic communication has already opened the floodgates, allowing incivility to thrive in the workplace and our inbox. That rude message from your boss is securely stored away, should you wish to revisit it. Your request to a colleague for information may continue to go unanswered, no matter how many times you check your e-mail.

To mitigate this stress, managers need to set clear and reasonable expectations regarding e-mail communications. Whenever possible, organizations should create meaningful opportunities for employees to build effective work relationships. This way, when people draft an e-mail, they will see its recipients as approachable instead of abstract addresses that they can demean or even choose to ignore.

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Category(s):Workplace Issues

Source material from Scientific American


Mental Health News

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