You’re Not Morally Obligated to Answer Every Email: Work in 60 Seconds


Of course not. I’m Adam Grant and
this is Work in 60 Seconds! I wrote a New York Times op ed recently about
how you shouldn’t ignore email altogether and look it’s up to you to decide with every
individual email whether you want to respond or not and how. But I do worry that if your habit is to just
ignore emails period that can actually hurt your success. The evidence is clear from managers that when
they’re slow to respond to email that makes them less effective. But I think it goes further. Over 80 percent of Americans actually work
in service jobs where the whole job is to be responsive to other people’s needs. And so if you’re just constantly ignoring
emails from clients and colleagues you might find pretty soon that you don’t have clients
or colleagues anymore. And that might apply to friendships too. Look I don’t think that anybody should be
a slave to their inbox which is why we all need to be proactive in communicating our
boundaries. If you have a 48 hour response policy let
people know if you don’t answer emails on nights or weekends just make sure you communicate
that and I think that’s a little bit of kindness that goes a long way. I’d love to say more but I’ve got some emails
to answer.

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