Posted by: kerrywills | October 16, 2015

Please respond

I have to say that my biggest frustration in the workplace has to be people who don’t respond to messages (or need to be asked five times before they respond). Unfortunately due to workloads most corporate cultures today communicate almost exclusively through e-mail. This causes project deliverables to be dependent on the responsiveness of the people who get the e-mails. I understand there are people who have hundreds of e-mails and may take some time to get back but what I cannot deal with is people who don’t respond at all. This then puts the onus on other people to track them down.

When people join companies, I don’t think that there is documentation in their orientation materials that says that work or responding is discretionary. So to not respond at all to messages seems like a form of insubordination and poor performance. I am probably taking a more aggressive view on this but my mindset is one of efficiency, responsiveness and productivity. Therefore, having to follow up with people on items where 3-5 messages were sent seems like a waste of time to me.  I think it is perfectly reasonable to respond saying “I can’t get to it now” or “I don’t think this is my accountability” in which case a conversation can be had. But by not responding it puts the onus on the sender to keep following up vs taking accountability for the item.

Just click the button

Others may not agree with the comments here, so please reply with your thoughts


  1. Speaking to the hundreds of emails received per day, it cannot go unsaid that if a reply is required, proper email etiquette also needs to be followed. The person from which a reply is expected needs to be addressed directly and the To field needs to have that person either first on the To distribution or be the only person in the To field. The Subject of the email also needs to be specific using a key word specific to the subject matter that is easily searchable in email that would produce other possible emails on the same subject for a quick review by the person who needs to provide a reply.

    A heads up by other means (such as an instant message, text, phone call, voice message, etc.) to the person from which a reply is expected is also very effective. Often emails, especially unexpected emails are lost in a sea of hundreds of emails received daily.

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