Why have I not received my email?

We’re so used to immediate communications these days, that waiting for a hotly anticipated email can be incredibly frustrating. If you are expecting an email response that hasn’t arrived, there might be a perfectly reasonable explanation. Try working through these steps and you can track it down!

We’ve written about this topic before, most notably in our homage to Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with, amongst other things, putting the @ into our email addresses, who sadly passed away in 2016.

As we said then, the worst part of emails going astray is that you won’t necessarily know about it. However, following the methodology of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, it can be possible to tracks down the message in question. After all, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

#1. Have you allowed enough time?

It may take several hops from one server to another before an email reaches its intended recipient. Depending on network connection speeds and polling and refresh settings, email might not be the immediate communication medium you expect it to be. If in doubt, hit the refresh button on your browser-based mail app, or simply give it a few more minutes.

#2. Are you having connection problems?

Is anyone else in your building having connection problems? It might be that your email has been delayed as part of a larger connectivity issue. Check to ensure your network connection is live and that you have good access to the Internet. Then check with colleagues to see if anyone else is experiencing similar problems. If you can’t connect with the Internet, raise a ticket on your IT support system. If you can’t access the network at all, you’ll need to give IT a call.

#3. Check your SPAM folder

Hitting exactly the right sweet spot for your SPAM rules – whereby malicious emails are all kept out while innocent emails are never misdirected into your SPAM folder – can be a difficult balancing act. It’s always worth checking your local SPAM or junk folder to see if the email you’re waiting for has ended up there by mistake.

#4. Check all your incoming folders

Email systems like Outlook include some helpful functions for helping you declutter your email address, this can include helpfully reorganising your emails into the folders it thinks are appropriate. Check both Focused/Other and any other folders such as ‘Clutter’ that your email may have ended up in.

Outlook’s ‘Clutter’ folder was created to help you filter low-priority email, saving time for your most important messages. However, Outlook may sometimes assume an email is for the Clutter folder and your important emails could end up in there. If you are finding that emails you want to read keep getting put in your Clutter folder, you can turn this function off.

#5. Make a call to the sender

If the email is really urgent and you’ve checked all the above possible holdups, it might be that you need to pick up the phone and chase it up with the sender. There could be myriad reasons why the email might have been held up their end – the other person may even think they have sent it and be wondering why you haven’t replied. Or perhaps they have shared the documents you need via another communication channel such as Teams? Or perhaps they have uploaded them to SharePoint and forgotten to let you know? You won’t know until you pick up the phone, so if it super urgent perhaps it is time to do that.

#6. Troubleshoot possible problems with the sender

If the sender has confirmed they have sent you the email and you still haven’t received it, you can troubleshoot potential reasons for the holdup with them over the call.

First off, has the email really been sent? Ask them to check their sent items to doublecheck. If it is showing as sent, you might like to ask them to resend it. If it’s not showing as being sent, ask them to check the drafts folder… perhaps connection issues at their end are to blame?

Have they sent it to the right email address? It’s an easy mistake to make – perhaps they have an old email address for you or, if it’s a new contact, perhaps they have recorded your email incorrectly. Either way, check exactly where they sent the email!

Does the email include large attachments? Alternatively, internal IT rules for their mail system may have held the email up – the most likely cause of this will be sending large attachments. Sharing files over Teams or SharePoint is a much better way to give access to a document. As well as preventing holdups or problems, you have much greater control over access rights and permissions. Make it a rule to share documents in this way in future.

#7. Still no idea? Check your company’s quarantine system

Many emails will be weeded out by your company email system at the server level; this is essential to reduce the risk of malicious emails reaching users. If you’ve exhausted all other avenues, it might be worth sending a quick email to your IT support asking them to check the quarantine folder.

Often, there will be automated notifications to let you know that an email addressed to you has been quarantined but, depending on the settings, these notifications probably won’t be immediate. If you’re in a hurry, you can always enquire proactively.

In summary, a delayed email doesn’t have to mean an extended waiting game. Work your way step-by-step through the possible causes and you’re sure to uncover what’s happened!

If you need help to improve the set up of your email systems, would like to migrate your email server to the cloud or would like to set up additional file sharing systems or communications channels – including Microsoft Teams and SharePoint – please get in touch with the Grant McGregor team. We’re always on hand to help and offer advice.

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