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Stop hitting reply all

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

And have a think about who really needs to be in the email chain in the first place.

This weekly tweak is part of our series to make work better together - get it direct to your inbox.

333 billion emails were sent and received every day in 2022 - an individual can expect to receive an average of around 120 emails per day and will send over 40.

Every email has a carbon footprint and when it’s a waste of time, can leave a bad taste in our mouths!

In 2021, users in the United States spent approximately 149 minutes every day checking their work emails. How much of that time is spent on email chains where you are cc’d but have to follow the trail back to see if it actually really concerns you?

But why hit ‘Reply All’? Well, there are a couple of reasons…

  1. Multiple people need to be aware of a decision or key information

  2. It's evidence that you sent something - a paper trail to hold people accountable. (Didn’t you see the email chain to 37 people with the 26 responses? The information was clearly in there 🥴)

  3. Power leverage - cc your boss, their boss, everyone's boss and the boss of the world to show you mean business

  4. To say thanks for the original email but don’t want to leave anyone out

  5. To show you are working really hard and have read the email

  6. You are slagging off the original email sender and hitting reply all by accident….Noooooooo 🙈

How to make work better don't click on Reply All!

A Better Work Tweak - Hit reply all in extreme circumstances only

Ok, so there is an argument that on occasion Reply All might be required but use it very sparingly.

An even Better Tweak - a tip to make the tweak even better

Create a rule to put all emails that you are not in the ‘To’ line into a separate folder that can be checked less frequently.

When the situation allows, try to move CC’d people to BCC (and say so in the email) so they can be taken out of the rest of the chain if it’s clearly not relevant - there is some excellent reply all/CC/BCC etiquette from the good people at Hubspot.

It’s hard to break a chain once it’s started but if you can, please do. This will help everyone's workflow and avoid unnecessary distractions.

Michelle Wallace


A Better Work


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