Fundamental to any good working relationship is trust.

Yet what do you feel when you receive an email that has a read receipt?

And what do you think when you are sent an email and your boss has been copied in?

If the feeling you get is a sense of mis-trust then you are not alone.

It takes time and effort to engender trust with a colleague – and it can be lost or undermined with a single email. Often people send these emails and they have no sense of the reaction that is happening at the other end.

There is a word that Psychologists use which is: ‘disinhibition’. It has not been proven that people get ‘disinhibited’ when they communicate virtually. They disassociate themselves from the reaction or reactions that happen at the end of their email.

It is not just with email – you can read in the press any day of the week about the abusive ‘trolling’ that goes on with Twitter and other forms of social media. Frankly spineless cowards who would not dare to say to someone’s face what they write on the internet.

We regularly hear stories of emails sent in organisations that at the lower end of the scale create unnecessary worry and angst – at the other end of the scale leave people in tears and afraid to come in to work.

Email can evoke strong reactions, cause upset, can create embarrassment and waste time.

So the rules are as follows:

Don’t put something in an email that you would not be prepared to say to someone's face or to be:

– produced in court

– printed in the press

– posted on your intranet

– circulated on social media sites

– used in a tribunal or disciplinary

– produced under the data protection act

– shown to your boss or your boss’ boss

– printed and sent on your organisation’s headed paper