A Swindon-based office worker spent nearly 2 hours today agonising over his email sign-off. 28 year-old Marketing assistant Greg Parker was visibly anguished by the potentially cosmic ramifications of using either ‘Regards’ or ‘Kind Regards’ in an email to senior management. His internal paralysis was so mentally destructive that he had even drafted ‘Best’, an insincere sentiment which he later deleted in an apoplectic fit of self-loathing. After 112 minutes of deliberation, including a statistical analysis of historic short-term outcomes when adding ‘Kind’, he resolved to use a naked ‘Regards’ and face the consequences alone, with scant consideration for family, friends and his dogs Dolce and Gabanna.
‘It’s been a really tough morning at work,’ said Greg, after regretting to add ‘Hi’ to a terse email exchange with a colleague. ‘My girlfriend says I’m always overthinking stuff’, he continued. ‘Just because I might spend a few hours selecting the right emoticon when I message her. Today, I’ve regained some precious milliseconds by converting ‘thanks’ to ‘thx’ in other correspondence. The cumulative impact of omitting 2 to 3 letters per sign-off really is a blessing. No joke. I used the extra time to fuss over how many irrelevant email recipients I could piss off by copying them in. I usually adopt a risk-based approach and cc the entire workforce.”
Greg is not alone in confessing his palpable anxieties over digital etiquette. A recent survey revealed that an average office worker spends up to 70% of each day vacillating between potential email sign-offs. The repercussions of getting it wrong can be very costly: a trainee accountant was recently sacked and told he would ‘never work in Finance again’ after consistent use of the abbreviations TAFN ‘That’s all for now’ and TTYL ‘Talk to you later’ rather than an appropriate TTFN.
Towards the end of the day, Greg had not received a single response from his management team. He was still chronically fretting about whether his email sign-off was appropriate: ‘What did the standalone ‘Regards’ actually convey? Was it too cold and compassionless? Was I wrong in omitting the ‘Kind’? Or is that overly deferential with respect to hierarchy? I don’t want to come across as a serf. Should I have just used ‘Rgds’ to demonstrate that I’m really busy at the moment? What about ‘Warmest Regards’? Or is that just a euphemism for ‘I want to be loved because I’m lonely’? Am I overthinking this?’