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Kisses on client emails and lack of 'out of office' replies infuriate employees, reports Staples/OnePoll survey


Taking time over an ‘out of office’ email over the summer holidays and Olympic period can have a positive effect on relationships with colleagues, clients and suppliers, reveals a new report.

Research by Staples UK/OnePoll found that spelling or grammatical errors in the message can leave a lasting negative impression, with 65% of people saying they would see this as 'shoddy' and 'have no faith' in the sender.

And 58% of office workers said they felt irritated and wouldn't do business with people who took annual leave and failed to leave any out of office message at all as it showed a lack of professionalism and care.

But the research by Staples UK reveals there is a way that absence can help a business when it comes to emails.

Amee Chande, Staples UK MD, said: "People read out of office more often than you think. Beyond the basics, why not take the opportunity to communicate your own personality or that of your company by being creative, humorous and thoughtful.

"Tell them, for example, if you're taking a well-earned day off to go and see the Olympics, that you'll get back to them faster than Usain Bolt on your return. Or if you're on paternity leave, perhaps make note that you've been left holding the baby. As long as you remember to include an alternative contact and the date you'llbe back in the office, your clients and colleagues will appreciate that everyone is entitled to time off."

The survey also found that 46% of UK businessmen and women named rude or abrupt Out of Office message as one of the biggest workplace irritations.

Despite the obvious need to keep clients and co-workers informed and happy, a majority of companies have no policy on Out of Office emails, with 52% of business workers left to their own devices and 18% never bothering to use the option at all.

But it's not just out of office emails which are driving UK businesses around the bend, with the Staples research also revealing a whole list of grievances when it comes to emails: kisses on emails to clients (66%); smiley faces on emails to clients (44%); terms of endearment to clients, such as 'honey' or 'dear' (54%); abbreviations such as 'OMG' (50%); cheesy lines such as 'Happy Friday' (28%); and asking clients about plans for the weekend (17%).

The Staples Business Report was carried out by ONEPoll (1,000 respondents) July 2012.