Don’t Ignore Co-Workers’ Emails

Overwhelmed by email? Join the club. One recent survey suggested the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages ( But ignoring email from co-workers communicates that their priorities are unimportant to you. And when researchers compiled a huge database of the digital habits of teams at Microsoft, they found that the clearest warning sign of an ineffective manager was being slow to answer emails (

Responding in a timely manner shows that you are conscientious, organized, and dependable. But, of course, not every single email deserves a reply, Writing in The New York Times, organizational psychologist Adam Grant offers some guidelines to help prioritize:● Feel free to ignore emails from strangers.

● The same goes for near-strangers repeatedly asking you to do something for them.

● Set boundaries and delay responding to after-hours work emails that are not emergencies.

● If you’re just hopelessly behind on your inbox, at least set up an auto-reply giving people another channel where they can reach you for time sensitive matters: a Slack channel, Twitter, or phone number.

“Whatever boundaries you choose,” writes Grant, “don’t abandon your inbox altogether. Not answering emails is like refusing to take phone calls in the 1990s or ignoring letters in the 1950s.”

From The Glasers