Working from home? Sometimes these email cliches are just what you need

It's easy to fall back on cliches when you're sending work email, but some phrases get the message across better than if you're blunt

August 31, 2020
Woman working from home on her laptop

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When it comes to work emails, I like the ones the get to the point.

I mean, what I really like is communicating face to face instead of endless emailing back and forth with someone, but these days with everyone working from home, that's not usually possible.

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I'm sure you've seen lots of those articles like this one in Reader's Digest (who knew there still was a Reader's Digest?): 10 Irritating Phrases You Should Stop Writing in Emails. Stories like that want to let you know that everyone's tired of the cliches and the office-speak, like "circle back," "let's touch base," "thanks in advance," and more. They make a good point. Some of those phrases are so overused that they barely mean anything anymore. 

But, on the other hand, how about this? Workplace Passive-Aggressive Phrases That Everyone Should Use. This is a great little story on the website Inc. The theory here is that we actually need some of those cliches to sugar-coat our anger or disgust around our coworkers' incompetence, stupidity, or laziness.

For instance, according to the article:

If you've worked in an office environment, you've received an email in a thread that says, "Per my last email." You've probably written it as well. It's a helpful phrase that says very politely, "I've already answered this." But it also clearly conveys the true meaning: "Can you read the stupid emails before you ask for information that I've already given you?"

Now we're talkin'!

The writer collected a bunch of contributions via Twitter from workers who've mastered the art of the passive-aggressive email cliche. Like:

“Let me know if you need anything else” = “Don’t ever contact me again”


"Thank you for your feedback! I'll be sure to keep it in mind!" <- your criticism is completely irrelevant if not flat out wrong and you know less on the topic than the back end of a donkey, but I have to pretend like I at least considered your opinion.

It's easy to find examples of workplace cliches that need to never be used again.

Finally, someone has made a great case for using these phrases to burn a coworker in the most polite and civilized way possible. 

And the good news is that since you're working from home, just in case they do see through you, you're not going to bump into that coworker at the coffee machine in the breakroom.

(Although they might give you the ol' stinkeye on the next staff Zoom call.)

Here's the link to the full story

And if you have any comments, circle back and loop me in.