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You’ve got email: what’s your take on email answering etiquette?

A computer screen inbox displaying unsolicited emails known as
A computer screen inbox displaying unsolicited emails known as "spam" in Hong Kong on March 20, 2009.

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Whether you’re a devout practitioner of “inbox-zero” or a functional email hoarder, you probably have some sort of professional philosophy on email. But is there an optimal approach?

In his recent Op-Ed “No, You Can’t Ignore Email. It’s Rude,” organizational psychologist Adam Grant argues that ignoring email is essentially “digital snubbery,” an act of “incivility,” inexcusable, regardless of the volume of letters sitting in your digital mailbox.

He’s not a complete zealot though. Exceptions can be made for strangers asking you to promote content on Facebook or requests to network with higher-powered co-workers.

On the flip side, there are plenty of folks in the professional world who think ignoring irrelevant email is the most productive use of their time. (Your friendly neighborhood producer writing this blurb has thousands of unread messages, but it’s okay, I read the subject line.)

How do you approach your email? Does it depend on your profession or status within a company? Whether you’re a hyper conscientious email answerer or the Marie Kondo of your inbox, we want to hear from you.

Call us at 866-893-5722.


Adam Grant, organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the recent New York Times Op-Ed “No, You Can’t Ignore Email. It’s Rude.;” he is also the author of “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” (Viking, 2016) and host of the TED podcast WorkLife; he tweets @AdamMGrant