• Adam Tarnow

Improve one downside of remote work

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

I, like many of you, have forced myself to master the art of working from home. There are some benefits to this new way of life.

  • No traffic.

  • I spend less money on gas.

  • The office socialite never “pops in” to see how things are going.

  • I don’t have to brush my teeth until 10am.

  • It’s socially acceptable to not wear shoes.

  • No one in my office microwaves fish.

There is a long list of downsides, but I’m not sure that list is beneficial. For most of us, working from home has been forced upon us, so we simply need to make the most of it.

However, I think we should talk about one downside: email. Sorry …I didn’t mean to make you cuss. I know your day just started. Before you hit delete, hear me out. I want to help.

This is an important topic. For most of us, remote work is leading to more emails. Adding more email to your life is like adding more cats to your life, …it doesn’t help anything. Ever.

To be clear, I can’t change the amount of email you receive. You simply have to endure. I can, however, help you write better emails. To that end, here are three easy ways to improve the emails you send each day.

One, think like a Journalist. A good journalist knows not to bury the most critical information in the middle of their article. The most vital information is always at the top of the article. This line of thinking will help you write better emails. Don’t “bury the lead,” put your bottom line up front (“B.L.U.F.”), then include the details.

Two, think like a Designer. A good designer wants to make things visually appealing, as well as functional. Because emails are almost always read on a screen, you have to think about design. Long paragraphs are REALLY hard to read on a screen so, try to use no more than three lines of text per paragraph. Generous spacing is your friend. If you can use bullet points, that’s even better. Even bolded phrases and highlights help too.

Three, think like a Stoic. Email is best for facts, not emotions. When writing emails, stick to the facts. While working remotely, keep your emotional conversations to the phone or Zoom.

This list could be much longer, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. So, your homework for this week: (1) pick one of these tips and start setting a better example and (2) forward this blog to those on your team so you can all get better.


Image courtesy of https://unsplash.com/@onlineprinters

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