To whom it may concern,

Being back to working from home is stressful enough without having to remember all the intricacies of pandemic email etiquette. The things that became second nature to us during the dark days of 2020 were blissfully forgotten as soon as that first dose of Pfizer hit our systems. Allow us to help you ease back in with some reminders of the do’s and dont’s of the WFH communication minefield.

Kind regards,


Sent from my kitchen table

Alicia Peel, EDIT Lab PhD student

1.Buzzwords are a must

If it doesn’t mention “boosters”, “Omicron” or “vaccine passports” then how can you expect to grab people’s attention? Bonus points if you can throw in whatever piece of furniture you’ve resorted to using as a desk.

2.I hope you are keeping well

For years it has sat unloved in the reserve supply of pleasantries, but this year it reigns supreme, because now we have a renewed sense of concern for our colleagues and really do hope that they are keeping well. Say it with commitment, say it with meaning. Maybe even add an “and safe” should you be particularly concerned about the inside of their makeshift home office.


If you weren’t aware, the new variant means that a lot of events are happening virtually again. Help your colleagues out by all important “virtual” before any mention of meetings, catch-ups or celebrations. Else they may think you’ve gone mad and are actually suggesting face-to-face contact!

4.Socially distanced, of course

Should you be so bold as to divulge what you’ve gotten up to in your free time, don’t forget the disclaimer that all activities were “socially distanced, of course”. If not you may find yourself a hot topic of office chitchat at the next, virtual, coffee break.

5.I don’t expect replies outside of your working hours

Being remote again means that every household has entered back into their own unique timezone. Those with children at home are working with a particularly interesting bodyclock consisting of two back-to-back working days, the occasional meal and, rarely, some sleep. Yet somehow we still can’t resist looking at emails from our colleagues when they pop up at 11pm on a Saturday night. Things aren’t quite so dire that you’re going to stop binge-watching Netflix and hop to it right away, but hey, it’s polite of them to add that you don’t need to worry about it until Monday morning.

6.All the best to you, fluffy, tigger and the kids

Extend those kindest of regards to the real heroes of the working from home experience – the kids, pets, partners, housemates, or anyone who shouldn’t have been on screen yet somehow kept creeping in. Their guest appearance in that neverending zoom call was the highlight of your week, so it’s really only fair that they get your warmest wishes too.

Alicia Peel

Author Alicia Peel

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