If someone walked up to you in the corridor at work and asked you a question, would you ever think of turning away and not answering them, basically ignoring them and their question? If someone phoned you and you picked up the phone to hear their voice, would you ever think of hanging up the phone without responding? Of course not and yet that is what is happening all the time with email.  Countless emails are being sent within and between organizations that are valid emails with valid questions requiring a response and yet people are somehow just ignoring those emails. Whether it is that the individuals are overloaded and can’t just get to their email or they are being just plain rude is unknown. I worked with an organization however where individuals from all levels of the organization regularly ignored emails, not responding or even acknowledging receipt. For people who are efficient with email and are working to accomplish some project, having someone not respond in a reasonable time is a severe problem. It means that the email has to be sent again or a phone call made or a visit made to that person. What would have been a one minute job for the recipient to reply, is now a half hour job to follow up several times and finally find the person to get an answer.

For some reason, email is seen as an anonymous tool that does not require the everyday niceties of work behavior. Just as a person in traffic is anonymous and can cut into a line with impunity, so to can someone hide behind email, ignoring requests and pretending that the act of doing so is not downright rude behavior.