What should the email formality be towards one's boss? For example, is there a need to leave a "Thank you," or "Sincerely", at the end of each email? I feel that doing

Thank you/All the best/Best regards

at the end of every email is sort of superficial, and that its value decreases over time. I generally don't do this with co-workers or friends, but have been with my supervisors. Is this appropriate?

Context: Software engineering job, Silicon Valley/American culture

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    Hello George and welcome to [WP.SE]. We appreciate your joining this StackExchange to find answers to your questions and I want to encourage you to ask away. This particular question will likely be closed though, because the answer is so much based on factors like company culture and personal gusto that it can't even be answered satisfyingly in context of a particular industry. It may even differ within a company. If you see a way to edit this question so that it can be answered in a more general fashion, please go ahead. – CMW Dec 28 '13 at 11:37
  • I'll dissent and say that being able to understand situational context, my answer, is still relevant to him. The particulars of an organization are irrelevant as you'll be working with new people and folks outside that company. Being able to switch formality and determine when to use one versus another is a terrific job skill. – Eric Dec 28 '13 at 22:20
  • I wish I could answer, as I don't think this is opinion-based, but is rather important. In every email you ever send, write it as though someone you never met and knows nothing about the subject will read it three years from now and decide whether to promote or hire you based on its content. Text and IM can be informal. Email needs to reflect professionalism. Remember, YOUR opinion on formality vs. context doesn't matter. It's the impression you convey that matters. – Wesley Long Dec 30 '13 at 13:48

I think you need to display situationally appropriate formality. That is say that your ability to write at the correct formality level, and to determine what those levels are, is important.

Consider dress code standards. Regardless of what the employee dress code says, you should know that if you're alone in your office on a weekend that shorts and a t shirt, or maybe jeans and a t shirt, are fine. Conversely you'd probably show up in your boss' office on Monday to discuss a sensitive topic looking a little bit different.

As a mid-level executive I spend a lot of time looking for good candidates for management positions. You need to know when to be informal and have a beer with your colleagues, but you also need to know that how you interact with my boss (and others) reflects upon me as your mentor.

I think the formality is fine and you should keep it up. It's not overly klunky, you're not saluting people in the hallways and snapping to attention, and when they need to pick someone to interact with higher-ups your value as someone with tact will be important.

In short, there's a difference between what you should do and what you can get away with.


In the US software industry, intra-company email is informal. I don't know anyone who pays attention to the salutation and closing. Some people omit one or both. But avoid chat shorthand, e.g. "u" for "you".


What should the email formality be towards one's boss?

I've worked in US software companies for many years. Most communication these days is very informal, and emails even more so.

My emails to everyone are pretty much the same - short, informal, to-the-point. Whenever I write an email to my boss, I address it by her first name, and virtually always end it informally.



-- joe"

Sometimes just:

"-- joe"

Occasionally, I'll omit both the Thanks, and my name.

(In our email system, we also have a boilerplate Signature line, so it's always obvious who sent the email)

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