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Email Etiquette in the Office

Ask Savvy: How Do I Get My Co-Worker to Respond Faster?

This reader posted in our Ask Savvy group saying that her co-worker takes a long to to respond to her emails. Any suggestions on how she should deal with the situation?

Have you guys ever dealt with someone (professionally) that won't email you back—or takes a really long time? I am looking for an appropriate way to get a faster response from this person that I work with. I just don't get people sometimes! Has this ever happened to you? What is the best way to handle this? I am working closely with this person, so I don't want to be rude or annoying! Grrr!

Ask anything budget-, etiquette-, or planning-related — well, almost anything — by posting your questions in the Ask Savvy group, and I'll find the right expert to help you out.

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Imnickiegurl Imnickiegurl 5 years
I never realized how damaging this could be until an signed up for this summer independent study. This is supposed to be the last class in my Bachelor's degree but because the professor I worked with didn't respond promptly to my emails or didn't respond at all I have to deal with an incomplete. Now instead of working on my grad school applications for Spring 2012 admission, I am spending almost all my time finishing up assignments that were given to me late.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 5 years
This is one of my biggest pet peeves! Ive dealt with this often. I would try all of the above first. If the coworker is still unresponsive then start including respond by dates and times. I usually use by end of business as the time. If that doesn't help let your boss know that you're going to start CCing him/her on emails because of the unresponsiveness. If that doesn't work, start CCing the coworker's boss. Good luck!
ginamb ginamb 5 years
i agree that the proper way to handle this is doing what rockgoddess528 wrote. if you want to take a risk, you could put "resend" in the subject line or cc the manager. i've done both of these and while i'm not proud of it, sometimes it just needs to be done because the issue is ongoing and not helpful in creating a good working partnership. another option could be asking your manager to talk to their manager (if they are different.) escalate and put your manager to work - they're there to help you too! if you don't have the nerve or don't have the rank to do these, try to ask the person how s/he prefers to communicate so it's a win win for both of you.
rockgoddess528 rockgoddess528 5 years
I've experienced similar issues. The best way to approach it is to have a face to face or phone conversation. Let the person know you are noticing a lag in e-mail response and maybe you can work together to find a way of communicating that will work best for both of you.
Emily-Co Emily-Co 5 years
Perhaps IM if your company uses some sort of chat service?
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 5 years
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