Email Protocols

Response Time

Respond to emails within 24 hours on weekdays. Even if you need more time to research the answer to a question, let the sender know you received their message and when they can expect a full response.

"Reply" vs. "Reply All"

If you hit the "Reply" button to respond to an email, your response goes to the person who sent you that email.

If you hit "Reply All," you respond to everyone on the thread, whether they’re in the “To” or “CC” fields.

DO NOT hit the Reply All button when you receive an email on an agency-wide distribution list. In fact, as a general rule, don't hit Reply All. Here's a helpful set of guidelines.

BCC

Generally, DO NOT use the BCC function. It can lead to some embarrassing communications faux pas.

However, there is one exception: DO use BCC when you're sending a blast email to Tyee site staff (esdinhouse) or All staff (esdmail). Why? By placing the agency-wide distribution lists in the BCC line instead of the To or Cc lines, when an employee mistakenly hits the "Reply All" button, we don't all receive the extra email.

Out-of-Office Auto Replies

If you can't respond to emails within 24 hours because of meetings, travel, part-time schedule, or leave, use the auto-reply (out-of-office message) feature in Microsoft Outlook. Use one of the following examples. If you don’t know how to set up an auto-reply, contact ithelp@esd113.org for help.

  • Temporary Absence – "I'm sorry I missed you. I'm out of the office and will respond to my emails when I return on [day]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [email]."
  • Part-Time Employees on a Fixed Schedule – "Thank you for your email. I work [days and hours] and will respond on my next workday. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [email]."
  • Programs With Extended Closures (like summer) – "Capital Region ESD 113's [Program Name] is closed until [date]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [email]."

Signature Block

The easiest way to update your signature block is to copy and paste a template (see page 2 of this document). Use the list below for a final check of your new signature block.

If you have questions or would like an official "sign off" on your new signature block, email communications@esd113.org.

If you don’t know how to set your signature block, contact the IT department for help.

  • Font is Calibri, 12 pt
  • Name is bold
  • Credentials after your name only if they’re directly related to your job (master’s degrees generally are not, unless you are in a medical field — ask your supervisor if you are unsure)
  • ESD is abbreviated in Capital Region ESD 113
  • There are no periods in the address line
  • There is a divider line between street address and city, a comma between city and state, one space before ZIP code
  • Phone number format is XXX-XXX-XXXX, no parentheses or periods
  • If you use a cell number or fax number, the o:, c:, and f: are lower-case
  • Unless you have a separate website (like Sound to Harbor or GRAVITY), please use one website: esd113.org
  • Pronouns are the only optional part of the signature block
  • If you choose to include pronouns, choose from the approved list, and make sure they are lower-case
  • There is a full line space before Your goals, our reason, which is bold and italicized
  • There is a full line space before FOLLOW US:, which is bold and in all-caps
  • On the next line, hyperlink the social media accounts for the ESD (or your program, as appropriate)
  • Do not include any additional image- or text-based graphics (like a line above your signature)
  • No confidentiality notices or quotations
  • Hyperlinks are the same color of blue

Phone Protocols

Greeting

When answering the phone, say, "Capital Region ESD 113, this is [Your Name], how can I help you?"

Response Time

Respond to voicemails within 24 hours on weekdays. Even if you need more time to research the answer to a question, let the customer know you received their message and when they can expect a full response.

Out-of-Office Auto Greetings

If you're out of the office because of meetings, travel, part-time schedule, or leave, use the auto-greeting feature in Microsoft Outlook. Use one of the following examples. If you don’t know how to set up an auto-greeting, contact ithelp@esd113.org for help.

  • Temporary Absence – "You've reached [Your Name]. I'm out of the office and will return your call on [day]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [phone number]."
  • Part-Time Employees on a Fixed Schedule – "You've reached [Your Name]. I work [days and hours] and will return your call on my next workday. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [phone number]."
  • Programs With Extended Closures (like summer) – "You've reached [Your Name]. Capital Region ESD 113's [Program Name] is closed until [date]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Contact Person] at [phone number]."

Automatic Phone Call Forwarding

In lieu of leaving an out-of-office auto-greeting, you can forward your incoming telephone calls to a Capital Region ESD 113 co-worker who has agreed to take your calls while you're gone. If you don’t know how to forward your incoming calls, contact ithelp@esd113.org for help.

Templates

We use templates to provide a consistent brand identity. Templates provided by the communications department meet accessibility requirements. The communications department will check documents for accessibility before being posted online.

Contact the communications department if you need a template that is not provided in the links below.

Graphics

Logos

Logos in a variety of styles and formats are available to download.

Maps

Download maps of the state of Washington and of the districts in ESD 113.

Tools

Readability

Everyone benefits from clear and concise writing. Use the hemingwayapp to check your writing — aim for 8th-grade level.

Images

Free images (After you search, you must click Settings > Advanced search; scroll down to "usage rights" and choose "free to use or share.")

Social Media

Post good news on ESD 113's Workplace page — be sure to include a photo, if possible! Posts with photos get much more attention! (You do not need a Facebook account to have a Workplace account.) The Communications Department will then share that news on the ESD's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Communications Planning Template

What does it mean to “communicate well,” and how do you know when you’re doing it? Are you trying to meet a goal? The key to success is in the planning. Take time to think strategically about what you want to accomplish and why.

You may use this communications plan template on your own, or request a meeting with the Communications Department.