It happens, probably once every month, that my manager does not reply to my e-mails where I'm asking a question or just expecting feedback. Most of the time he does reply but the times where he's not still bugs me.

So I work from home some days and sometimes in another office location where my manager is not present. For this reason there are often things I need to coordinate with him, in regards to when I should come to the main office, which tasks I should prioritize etc.

When he doesn't reply, I usually wait around 4-5 hours (that would be half way through the day already) before sending a follow up e-mail. From here there are two outcomes, either he replies in a very short e-mail not answering 1-2 of the questions or he still doesn't reply.

I'm not sure how to deal with this. Do I confront him about it? Am I right to be annoyed by this?

The thing is that when he does reply first time, you can tell that he's in a good mood, answering politely and answers all of the questions. So I'm wondering whether the reason is just that he's really busy or frustrated. But he did tell me himself to make sure to coordinate tasks with him over e-mail.

I kind of feel like I'm being annoying myself, when I send the follow up e-mails

  • 1
    You aren't being annoying if it is something you require. Perhaps make sure you emphasise in both your initial and follow up emails that you are unable to proceed until you have clarification on point X and Y.
    – Jane S
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:21
  • 3
    Possible duplicate?
    – enderland
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:22
  • Agree with @JaneS - Especially if he requested it, there's no need to feel annoying. The only thing I can tell you is that it IS very plausible that your manager is extremely busy, so try not to come off as petty in your e-mails during the day, however, if this is reoccurring, add to your e-mail something along the lines of " I realize you're very busy and it may not be the most efficient for either of us to communicate through e-mail as I often have questions that go unanswered during the day. Is their another, preferable way to communicate?" Be straight forward. It'll be fine.
    – zfrisch
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:45
  • @zfrisch and Jane S. I appreciate your replies. However, I'm suspecting that, in the cases where he does not respond, he simply doesn't get to reading my e-mail. So whatever I write in it actually is not relevant? I think I may need to actually confront my manage face to face?
    – Force444
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 21:49
  • @D.Singh Or you could call him and ask him the question directly?
    – Jane S
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


If you are not getting responses from emails, then call him.

You clarified in your comments that you are not sure that he is actually reading the emails, in which case the content is largely irrelevant and how you try to attract his attention. You need to use an alternate way of communicating with him to ask for the information you require. A three minute phone call may well save you those five hours of unproductivity.

  • 1
    I think you're right. Calling him when he doesn't answer will probably put him in the position where he would rather just take out a minute to answer my e-mail than take my phone call hours later. Or as you stated, stop sending e-mails and only call him, if the above doesn't help. Thanks :)
    – Force444
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 22:25

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