NHS crippled by the email ‘Reply All’ button

email-replyAn email was accidentally sent to 850,000 NHS workers in a major blunder by IT workers.

Sending the email with the subject line “test” was bad enough, but hundreds of NHS workers then replied to the email, some simply asking to be removed from the distribution list but they hit the “Reply All” link instead of just “Reply”. Some even included a request for a “Read” receipt to generate even more emails. This triggered billions on emails bouncing around which crippled the NHS email servers.

The mailing list with all NHS employees was apparently created in error and has since been disabled. Mistakes happen, but the event has also demonstrated just how useless we are at understanding how email works. Using “Reply All” and requesting “Read” receipts to what’s essentially a spam email will only infuriate your colleagues and make them hate you.

When you have any email that you need to respond to only even use “Reply All” judiciously. Even if you do reply to everyone, do your colleagues the courtesy of checking who all includes and delete those who really don’t need your replies. It’ll save you becoming the most hated emailer in your company.