Reader Question: Is It Okay to Spam Your Co-Workers?

Last Updated Jan 14, 2011 12:16 PM EST

A Business Hacks reader posed this question:

Is it a good idea to send an email company-wide without the approval of your boss? Even if it's a nice poem and the goal is to elevate company morale?

No. Heavens, no. It's a bad idea, and I suspect you know why.

The fact that you mentioned "without the approval of your boss" suggests that you know he or she wouldn't approve -- and with good reason.

What you're describing is spam, plain and simple. Your co-workers' inboxes are cluttered enough already, and the reason your boss would frown is because you're adding to it with something non-essential. And using company resources (i.e. the mail server) to do it.

Clearly you have good intentions, and I'm sure it's hard to see the harm in something as innocuous as a "nice poem." But consider this: it's not your job to elevate company morale. Your boss is responsible for that, and if he/she's not getting it done, a poem won't help.

My advice: send the poem to your boss, saying you found it inspirational and perhaps worth sharing with the rest of the crew. Then you look like a thoughtful, proactive employee, not someone trying to pull an end run.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.