Early this week, Channel 7 did an interview with an analyst for Macquarie Private Wealth and David Kiely, was filmed in the background looking at emailed pictures of Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr. The banker is now in ‘discussions’ with Macquarie executives to discuss his future.
With the help of Youtube, this incident has received even more coverage than the ham sandwich debacle of 2005 and is a timely reminder of the proper use of email at work. Here are six ways to curb your email habits and play nice in the office.
Do not use your work email to discuss personal issues with your colleagues
You may be friends with your work colleagues but only try and limit your work email to work issues only. If you need to discuss any personal issues, pick up the phone and speak to your colleagues, use your personal email or wait until your break times or after work drinks.
Take a note from the two secretaries at prestigious law firm Allens Arthur Robinson. Their ‘discussion’ over an alleged stolen ham sandwich turned into a tirade of abuse and was quickly forwarded around the world in a matter of seconds.
Be professional in all your dealings with your clients
You may own your own business and be your own boss but that doesn’t mean that a rude email to a client will not be detrimental to your business. Email exchanges are not the forum for angry outbursts. In yet another warning of the power and pitfalls of email, a New Zealand couple’s war with an abusive wedding planner was forwarded around the world.
If you have been sent a ‘suggestive’ or ‘emotive’ email, don’t respond straight away. Wait until you have calmed down and then reply back in a professional manner. There is no room for emotions at the office.
Don’t use your work email for a private exchanges with your partner
Work email is not meant for indulging in cyber sex and you need to be particularly careful of email ‘sexchanges’ if you’re indulging in an office romance. Claire Swire naively wrote a somewhat amorous email about how much she enjoyed oral sex with her now ex boyfriend who in the most public demonstration of kissing and telling, forwarded her email to his friends.
The email was forwarded onto friends of friends and made international headlines which resulted in him being suspended for breach of contract and no doubt resulted in the break-up.
Double check your email addresses in group emails
With programs like Microsoft Outlook, it is very easy to type in the wrong address for people with common first and last names. Before you send a group email, double check that you are sending it to the right person.
Schoolgirl Claire Mcdonald was the reluctant recipient of emails from high security emails from the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence. Further investigation revealed that a Royal Navy officer based at the Pentagon had inadvertently included Claire on a mailing list and breached security because of a mere typo.
Proceed with caution when using ‘reply all’
The ‘reply all’ button is fraught with disaster and should only be used when necessary. Nielsen in a desperate attempt to declutter inboxes took the extreme step of deleting the ‘reply all’ from Microsoft Outlook. This may have been a response to curb trigger happy Mitchell Habib, Executive Vice President at Nielsen, obviously a huge proponent of the ‘do as I say and not as I do’ management style.
Habib allegedly sent an email to an employee and accidentally copied in all Nielsen employees ending his e-mail with the now famous punch line “Who do you work for, and why do you think copying me on this is appropriate?” showing even high powered executives are not exempt from email blunders.
Do not read or forward inappropriate attachments at work
As much as we would like to, we can’t control the emails that are coming from outside sources like our colleagues, friends and family but we can control our own behaviour and delete the email and not forward the emails onto others.
As a result of the banker’s inappropriate use of email and the resulting public relations disaster, Macquarie’s human resources department apparently has e-mailed all 11,500 staff around the world with its Internet policy, telling them to “familiarise themselves” with it. Most organisations have an Internet policy readily available on their intranet or can be easily accessed from the IT department.
While email bloopers can be amusing and good watercooler fodder, always remember that emails are owned by the company, they are a written record of your conduct and can be used in a court of law. While David Kiely’s colleagues have launched a campaign to save his job and seem to view the whole saga as a joke, Macquarie Private Wealth cannot be seen to take this so lightly.
What will happen to David Kiely is yet to be determined but think thrice before you press that button and forward an inappropriate attachment, use abusive language in an email or write a personal email to your partner. Your career depends on it.