Understanding the difference between work and personal emails


Do you get much use out of your emails? If you work in an office, the chances are that you’ll have to write them as part of your job. Normally, you’ll be provided an email account to use for this purpose, but occasionally employers expect you to use your own. The latter may be more convenient, but the former is important for preventing distractions on the job. Lately, the lines between work and personal emails have gotten blurred, which isn’t great for productivity. To avoid potentially getting into trouble regarding your emails, here are some things to keep in mind.

Work now, play later

If you open up your account and see you’ve had a flurry of emails unrelated to your job, it can be enticing to quickly check them. It won’t take you long, right? Maybe not, but these emails can lead you down a rabbit hole just like social media. You might not intend to spend ages reading through your emails, but you can’t help but get sucked in. Suddenly, you haven’t been working for ten minutes, and you’re completely thrown off your game.

There’s a time and a place to check your personal emails. Being at work is not one of those.

Check your grammar

One of the biggest differences between work and personal emails is the way in which they should be addressed. When writing something to your family or friends, there’s no reason to worry about how you present it. Provided they can understand what you’re saying, they’re not likely to call you up on your writing.

However, it’s another matter entirely with work emails. There’s a level of etiquette that should be upheld when writing one of these. Messages should have no spelling or grammatical errors, and the email needs to be introduced and signed off professionally. If the email is going to a client, the last thing you want is for them to judge your company because of the way you interacted with them.

They see everything

If you have a separate account for your work and personal emails, it goes without saying that the two should never be combined. As well as creating confusion over what’s been sent from which email, it could also land you in hot water. When companies provide their employees with a work account, it usually means they’re able to monitor everyone’s activity on it. If you use it for anything other than its intended purpose, they’ll know, and probably call you up on it.

Likewise, if you access your personal email account on the company’s servers, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to see that too. You don’t want your boss to ever use your personal life against you. Therefore, it’s important to remember that during work hours, your outside life is reserved for outside.

Keeping it at work

When an employer sets up an email address for the company, it’s unlikely they’ll do it on something like Google Mail. Instead, they’ll opt for a service like Outlook. The problem with these accounts is that they can only accessed through a specific computer, i.e., the one you use at work. This may be inconvenient if there’s work you want to take home with you, but it also acts as a reminder. Work is for work, and therefore most things you do stay in the office. While you’re there, you should be focused on the job at hand. You can look at your personal emails wherever you want, so there will be plenty of time for those later.

Checking your personal emails at work isn’t completely out of the question. After all, everyone needs to take breaks every so often to recharge and get their focus back. However, some lines shouldn’t be crossed in the office. Always think about what you’re doing before you use your email.