Please Don’t Reply All To That Email 必

Here’s another work tip to help yourself and others along the lines of the No Hello rule

I am not sure if it’s because I am still catching up since returning from summer vacay, but I am finding it harder and harder to maintain Inbox Zero these days 栽

The one thing that peeves me (and many others that I’ve talked to) is seeing all these emails that are in my inbox because people have decided toor accidentallyhit that darn “Reply All” button. Sometimes it is used well when executives or managers are publicly recognizing employees for great work. But most of the time, we’re contributing to the demise of others’ inboxes.

I am not saying that we should never use the “Reply All” button, only that we should try to use it less… and be more purposeful with it. I think everyone can agree that we all get way too many emails, and there’s an opportunity for all of us to do better and help each other out

Do you really need to Reply All? 尹

You could argue that it’s part of your team’s culture, but oftentimes we hit that button because we want visibility. We want others to see that we’re a part of the action… But, let’s reconsider this self-serving habit because it’s:

  1. Spamming a lot of busy people’s inboxes and distracting them from getting their work done 菊
  2. Reminding me of those chain emails that I used to get and forward around back in my elementary days and felt like we had to reply OR ELSE something bad would happen (unproductive FOMO mentality)

Here are some examples of emails that do not necessarily require a “Reply All” response and could be sent directly to the person(s) of interest instead (or even through an IM or group chat):

  • Congrats
  • Happy Birthday
  • Get well soon
  • Have a great [insert vacation/mat or pat leave/etc] 儭
  • Welcome to the team
  • Thanks
  • This is great
  • Farewell 朮
  • [Insert emoji here ]

What should you do instead?

Tips for Email Senders:

  • Use the “Do Not Reply All” option when sending an email to large group(s) in Outlook.
  • Use the “Reply Directly To” feature to specify who should be receiving the email responses from recipients.
  • Add a reminder to “little r” (aka reply directly) to you instead of replying all at the end of your emails.
  • Consider sending an IM or starting a group chat instead (if it makes sense to do so).

Tips for Email Responders:

  • Reply directly to the email sender or targeted person(s) of interest.
  • Only CC whoever really really really needs to be in the know.
  • Move everyone else to BCC (they will silently thank you )!!!


Is my email going to add value to everyone who is receiving it?”

what to ask yourself before hitting the reply all button

Here’s to fewer unproductive emails in our already crazy inboxes and breaking the cycle of email madness

Thank you for reading my PSA and please share this email best practice with your peers or subtly add it to your email signature 斥

Hi, it’s Karen. Thanks for checking out my blog! You can find more work tips and resources here: