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What is an Appropriate Email Response Time?

Can you imagine waiting for a letter to arrive by Pony Express? 
Ever miss a meeting because the only notification was an email ten minutes before it started? It's easy to blame the recipient for not waiting in earnest expectation of our unsolicited message, but the reality is that email takes time to read.

It used to be that the standard email response time was one day. But in our fast paced, instant gratification world, that expectation has plummeted. In fact, according to one blog/survey the current expected email response time is one hour!

Here are a few good email habits to try:
  • Set aside 2-3 regular times throughout the day to check your inbox. 
  • If something needs a prompt reply but you cannot devote the time needed, notify the sender that you are working on it and will get back to them with more details later.
  • Unsubscribe or use Sweep rules to remove marketing and frivolous clutter.
  • Don't place unrealistic expectations on yourself or others. Give readers grace and plenty of time to read and respond.

If you do need an immediate response, try locating the person for a face to face interaction or call their office phone. Yammer and Skype are messaging services included with most Office 365 subscriptions. Remember that texting to a cell phone can also have difficulty receiving signals in the building.

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