We all use email to communicate with our coworkers. It’s so convenient! It’s quick, easy, and doesn’t require you to leave your office or pick up the phone.

And if you’ve been working in a certain office for a while, your emails have probably gotten a little informal. You might include an occasional smiley face. You might even be inspired to include a joke or two. But should you? Is it OK to joke around in your emails?

The answer really depends on five things:

  1. How well do you know the person you’re emailing? If you have a close relationship with the person, then a joke is probably OK. If you’re less familiar with the person (and you’re not entirely sure how the joke will be received), then it’s not a good idea.
  2. Would the person you’re emailing send you a similar joke? If so, then your joke is probably fine. If not, you should leave it out.
  3. Is your joke even slightly inappropriate? If so, don’t email it. It could end up being forwarded to someone who feels offended by what you wrote. And that could ultimately cost you your job. It’s definitely not worth it!
  4. Would your boss be upset if he or she read your joke? If so, don’t send it to anyone.
  5. Are you making light of a serious topic? If something upsetting has happened at the office or you have difficult news to convey, a joke might not be appropriate. When you’re having a difficult conversation, it’s usually best to do so in a serious manner.


McCord, S. (n.d.). 6 quick questions to ask yourself on that “funny” email before you hit send. The Muse. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-quick-questions-to-ask-yourself-on-that-funny-email-before-you-hit-send?ref=recommended