The great thing about email used to be that I could send it whenever I wanted and you could reply when it was convenient. No more.
“As our inboxes have become more demanding, we have all become less responsive — because we get so many messages it’s hard to keep up. But the harder it is to keep up, the more messages (‘I just thought I’d send another email asking if you got my first two emails’) we send,” according to a recent article by Sarah Green of Harvard Business Review. “It’s a vicious cycle that’s now spun out of control.”
The people causing the problem for the rest of us, Ms. Green writes, are that ones who respond “immediately to every message. The one who sleeps with his smartphone. The one who checks email on vacation.”
As a result, everyone else feels compelled to match that level of responsiveness, creating an endless cycle of back-and-forth emails. People who don’t comply—and who actually spend their time doing something that sending endless emails—end up being the ones considered rude.
“Every time you check your email while on vacation you make it just a little bit harder for me not to. Every time you fire off an email at 11 pm, you make a capillary explode in one of my eyeballs,” Ms. Green writes.
Do you feel the same way? How quickly do you respond to email? Do you think people are rude if they don’t write back immediately?