13 things you should never write in a work email

Email etiquette is a delicate art, and one that’s important to master, considering the average worker spends 28% of their day checking email, a McKinsey & Company study found. But, when you use poor judgment in an email to your boss, co-worker, or client, you’ve created a digital record of your mistake that could come back to bite you.

As Jacqueline Whitmore, etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, puts it: “An email is a permanent document that can be held against you.”

Another reason why the stakes are high: “Emails can be forwarded to anyone; they can even be posted on the Internet for the public to see,” warns executive coach Anne Marie Segal.

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How to Unplug From Work

Bet you can’t remember the last time Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 3.14.49 PMyou worked a 35-hour week. Thanks to technology, “employees feel the need to do more, work harder, and put in longer hours to stay competitive,” says Texas A&M management professor Wendy Boswell, who studies work/life balance. Smartphone users spend five hours on work email each weekend, reports the Center for Creative Leadership. A poll by the employment website Glassdoor found that 61% of people have worked during a vacation.

Productivity falls sharply after a 50-hour workweek, found Stanford economics professor John Pencavel. So connecting less is good for you and your company—though your boss may need convincing.

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