What’s The Worst All-Office Email You’ve Ever Encountered?

What’s The Worst All-Office Email You’ve Ever Encountered?

Copying a message to everyone in the office is bad behaviour and a career-limiting move, but often produces amusing results for those of us looking on. What’s the most extreme example you’ve experienced?

Picture by Tuomas Puikkonen

At Mumbrella, Cathie McGinn shares a professionally embarrassing moment for one sender at (now-defunct) ad agency Photon, where staff were apparently often hired for their looks rather than their abilities:

There was a disproportionately large number of very pretty women with no clearly defined role. I remember one executive assistant sending an all staff email to ask the entire company how you entered a number in an Excel spreadsheet.

Seen worse than that? Tell us about it in the comments.

Inside Photon – where cross pollination was personal. Very personal [Mumbrella]


  • One from someone in PR/BD, which simply read “No I don’t, now leave me alone!!!”
    To my knowledge, nobody ever asked for context.

  • Not a work one. This one is from Uni.

    A guy replied all to a job advertisement with his resume and academic transcript, noting that he had “pretty bad marks” but “a positive attitude” (He had failed 7 subjects in 3 years). To make things worse, he replied all again afterward, begging people to ignore the previous email.

  • In the late 90s an admin woman at my company was organising the annual company dinner dance at a swish venue. Tickets were subsidised by the company (v.cheap). When a few widely circulated emails started asking for spare tix to sell to family members, this lady gave the entire company a blast via email saying she was disgusted that such vultures would misuse (sell) their company-subsidised tickets for their own benefit. When one person emailed her to disagree she blasted that person with several expletives, again using To:All. She quit a few weeks later.

  • My mum managed to send an email to all the staff and students at the school where she worked.

    “Thanks Wendy for last night. I had a good time.”

  • This was at uni, not work.

    A guy sent an email to all the students doing the subject (a Programming subject) asking for assistance. A girl (I’m assuming his girlfriend) replied giving a suggestion and added something like “See you tonight sweety” with a very risque photo of herself. But she replied all, not just to him. Unfortunately she dropped out of the course.

  • Head of Engineering of a division in a large Aerospace Company took offence to someone spilling, and not cleaning up, some coffee in the kitchen. He then sent a angry email to the entire division (several hundred people I’d wager) saying that he’d “give them a good rogering” if he caught the culprit. I think we all got a “proper use of email” email soon after but he was too old school to care. Old Bob H was certainly interesting to be around…

  • I used to work for a large international, two letter computer manufacturer in the UK. I returned from lunch one day to find that someone in one of the London offices had emailed every UK employee to ask “Who has stolen my Snickers from the fridge?”

  • Not really the worst because it was intentional…. i worked at a surf clothing brand for 3 years and we had an on going thing where the girls had a top 5 and the boys had a top 5 of their co-workers… on my last day as my fairwell i sent everyone my good bye with a list of my top 5. everyone had a laugh, HR was disappointed she wasnt in there

  • I hate those ‘reply to all’ chains where everyone asks to be removed from The Mailing List. Then people tell them to stop replying by replying to all.

  • It’s for this reason why I physically separate the “Reply” and Reply All” buttons whenever I get a new computer/email client upgrade…

  • Once someone sent around an email warning people about a credit card scam, our director then sent an emil back to everyone blasting people for forwarding emails like these because everyone knows and it’s just spam. Meanwhile he consistently forwards everyone stupid chain emails with sexist articles about the difference between men and women, bad jokes and the like.

    We frequently get emails sent to the entire company from the director of the berating people for leaving clean dishes in the dish rack, with accompanying photos. Which wasn’t too bad until we realised the people leaving clean AND dirty dishes around were his 2 co-director sons and his wife.

  • I accidentally asked my entire department (including all the overseas offices) “What’s for lunch?”

    Obviously it was meant for one individual and not 250+ people. I did get some good responses though inclduing a photo of a Dutch Meatball sandwich from a workmate in Amsterdam.

  • I worked for a multinational company with offices around Australia. Someone in our office had sent out a company wide email asking for his ladder to be returned. Not even a minute later we were flooded with emails from all around Australia with people in remote areas telling him that they hadn’t seen his ladder. One guy even took a picture of a ladder in FNQ and asked if it was his… hahah.

  • Anyone remember (or still use) the Netsend command?

    It was a common way our IT department chatted to each other.

    Unfortunately, one of the interns didn’t believe a claim that /all would send a message to the desktop of every user on the network.

    That turned out to be all 1200 odd staff who received a pop-up box saying “I want to f%& you up the a$%&”

    The best bit was the audible shock that ran through the floor I was working on. Then the message broadcast over the PA system advising offering an apology and advice to close the message.

    Not exactly email… but in the ballpark.

    • Thankfully the message was mostly inoffensive, but once an IT worker sent a netsend message to the entire Defence Restricted network (100K+ users and computers), with the name of a colleague in the message.

  • It wasn’t actually to all staff. But it was pretty close. He neglected to include about a dozen technical people, about half of our junior sales and accounts people, his boss, and a few other people.

    To: The CEO, The CFO, The Director, The respective wives of the CEO, CFO and Director, The heads of Corporate Sales, Accounts, Technical Support, Several mid level managers, Several junior technical staff, Most of the Senior Technical Staff, Some randomly selected sales and accounts people, That F$#<ing F$#<wit
    From: A Mid level Technical Staffer
    Subject: F$#< That F$#<ing F$#<wit


    Obviously, I’ve censored some of his language for work safety. He did not. He also changed the corporate address book so that the person he was aggrieved with showed up as “That F$#<ing F$#<wit."

    He was advised the next morning that his resignation would be accepted, and unfortunately his two weeks notice would not be required, he could finish up immediately. Which is kind of a pity, because the guy he was complaining about was very annoying and essentially incompetent, and apart from his inappropriate emails, the guy who sent the email was quite a good technical resource.

  • Somebody at my office hit ‘reply to all’ to an alluser email instead of ‘reply’, and revealed to all that another worker had a penis piercing.

    The pierced guy left shortly afterwards…

  • The chap in the photo should be more embarrassed about that thing on his head than whatever was in the email he just sent to everyone he knows.

  • I worked for a small oil and gas company in Perth that was partnered with a HUGE oil and gas company in the US (HQ in Dallas, but offices all over the world). One Monday morning we got an “All Staff” asking if anyone had found someone’s dog that had gone missing when they’d gone into work at the Dallas office on the weekend. I think the poor clueless girl was still getting stuffed dogs, pictures of dogs and dog treats by mail 12 months later, from all points of the globe.

  • I used to work at a large public hospital… we’re talking bout over 1200 staff, plus subcontractors.

    One of the admin staff sent out pictures of her grandchildren… often.

  • Not sure which one is my fave, I have seen some pretty good rage-quit emails sent to everyone (one including a .jpeg os a guy with his head up his bum), but it’s a tie between these two;

    – An open thank you letter to the anonymous person in the team who welcomed a sick colleague back from extended leave by ‘slipping a pigeon in my chocolate hole.’

    – The woman who send a photo of a colleague’s freshly newborn from the delivery room, and followed the email up with a ‘DO NOT LOOK AT THE PREVIOUS PICTURE’ email, where everyone who hadn’t previously suddenly discovered a slightly out of focus, but still very evident ‘southerly perspective’ of the mother, still in stirrups, receiving well-lit medical care of a gynecological nature in the midground of the shot.

    Thank you email distribution lists. Your ability to amplify stupidity makes you truly worthy of our gratitude. [email protected]

  • By my observation, if you have a girlfriend called Allison or a boyfriend called Allan or any other intimate partner whose name begins “All…” it is prudent to get into the habit of entering their name in the To field by typing their *surname*, thereby avoiding accidentally sending that oh-so-personal message to All your workmates.

  • I subscribe to a science email newsletter, and one time someone “replied” to the message (the “reply-to” was the same as the “to”), saying something like “hi please add jake to your list”. All the subscribers got this email, wondering what the heck had happened. The person obviously had no experience with computers (or capital letters, either!).

  • Once, while working in a multinational outfit, received an ‘all staff’ email. Nothing noteworthy about the actual email, but got sick and tired of it after two dozen people or so replied to the original sender by clicking ‘reply to all’ and advising him “DO NOT SEND EMAILS TO ALL STAFF IT MEANS THE WHOLE COMPANY!!!!!!!!”

    So I flicked one back saying in no uncertain terms that if people felt they *had* to reply, they should hit ‘reply’ and not ‘reply to all’ or they would be as annoying as the original sender. Somewhat hypocritical I know, but within minutes I had no less than 22 emails from individuals thanking me, and about 10 people from my own office thanking me in person for having the balls to say what everyone was thinking.

    HR wanted to chat about it, but I simply asked them if they were going to chat to every single person who had ‘replied all’ to the original email. When they realized they would have to interview dozens of people or nobody, they chose nobody.

    Was a bit jerky of me, but then again I hated that job, and well, F*** da police.

  • An office worker who purchased MS Office via a corporate licence for home use forwarded the email containing his licence keys to his home address… and a large IT Support mailing list.

  • We had one colleague send an email to let everyone know he won’t be coming in with a little too much detail. Something along the lines of, Sorry I won’t be in today as I have very bad diarrhea, I apologise for the inconvenience.

  • All staff email sent from magnificent leader with update on employee enterprise agreement negotiations. Union rep then accidently replied all asking HR if her Australian Workplace Agreement (awa) would be signed in time for her to receive her pay increase next payday! She then followed up with an all staff email asking everyone to ignore the previous one!!

  • After an email from pretty receptionist letting everyone know that someone had left their car lights on a long serving older family man replied all with the gem “I’d like to turn her lights on”. Absolutely hilarious.

  • A farewell for a colleague at a previous place of employment was auto-corrected by e spell checker before beng sent to all the site. It invited people to the front garden for “drinks and nipples” after work… The turnout was particularly good.

  • Girl at my work forwarded an email to our entire sales staff following a chain with her friend in which they discussed how much trouble they’d been having “pushing out a s###” at the very bottom of the chain (before changing the subject).

  • All I’m going to say is when sending emails to your girlfriend who shares the same first name and similar surname as two work colleagues, make sure you use the word COME instead of the shortened version CUM. Abbreviations aren’t a great thing…

    We were emailing back and forth all day, I would type in Nicoles name and select it from the auto popup, then send away… I started getting lazy and tabbing etc.

    Mid message she asked me if I was going directly to our friends or home first to shower and change then meet them in the city… ‘Gunna go home an showr then cum’.

    It never looks good… I got weird looks and giggles for a week or so from the two Nicoles I worked with…lol

    p.s. this is the reason I never, ever shorten basic words in posts any more 🙂

  • Many years ago, two women who were friends (one was section leader, one temporary team leader), were discussing members of said team in a less than complementary fashion via email. Unfortunately, they also sent it to their team email address……Awkward.

  • I remember in first year uni a woman in one of my classes was requesting an assignment extension and hit reply all to all 300 students enrolled in that course. The email went into detail about her mental illness history, divorce, etc. She dropped out after that. 🙁

  • I get to read our companies hate mail bi-weekly, when it’s only supposed to go to the PR dept and the CEO. Quite amusing getting included in this list :). I told them this was happening and ppl should check who they send the emails to. I still get them once in a while haha. So many haters out there!

  • We had a network administrator here who sent an email round asking everyone to log out of Lotus Notes so he could run some maintenance.

    20 mins later there was no sign of him in the office, so I logged back in to find an email letting us know we could all log back into our email again.

    He doesn’t work here any more.

  • I knew a guy who worked at an engineering firm. The IT manager sent an (ironic, but he didn’t know that) email asking everyone to not hit reply all on emails.

    This ballsy SOB hit reply all with a simple “ok”. His world, we live in it.

  • It’s for these issues I use the “No reply to all” Outlook Add-in.

    I love the occasional response I get asking if there was something wrong with my mail as they couldn’t reply to all. I enjoy telling them it was intentionally disabled as it was a statement mail, not a discussion to fill up the inbox of all recipients for the rest of the day.

  • At a company I used to work for, someone took advantage of a male colleague’s unlocked PC and sent an email to the whole office saying, “I’ve lost a pair of size 9 bally shoes, pink in colour. If anyone comes across them please return”.

  • a manager of a friend supposed to send an e-mail to the company wide about a team member who is going to resign, but he pressed the send button to quick and the email is literally just said ” #### has left”

    being friday, thunderous emails from other offices came back with some witty comments
    we all had a laugh about 30 mins

  • A certain university in Canberra a few years ago. Head of a department responded to a department-wide email from IT support with an expletive-laden complaint about their request, but hit reply all. When IT gently replied back to her about the dangers of reply all, she replied all back again with the phrase “Don’t do these s***heads have anything better to do with their f***ing day than to read other people’s emails?”. Those s***heads were several hundred staff members reading this full and frank exchange with no small degree of bemusement. Now this kind of abusive language in any kind of organisation is usually grounds for misconduct, but nothing ever came of it. Obviously, the elites at this place have their own privileges.

  • My friend sent a mail to all NZ staff rather than his friend Al to proudly announce that he and his wife just got their stimulus package payment. Unfortunately his wording left a little to be desired to the amusement of his colleagues there who didn’t know about the Australian government policy.

    Subject: Woohoo
    “D and I finally got stimulated….  Geez that took so much longer than everyone else! ”

    Best random response: “We’ll send you over some new batteries… “

  • Received an email from a new start-up IT company which included a 4Mb Excel attachment with pricing. Unfortunately, the sender also sent it to 200 other IT companies using the To: field. When emails started bouncing, each of the recipients got the bounce, each with a 4Mb Excel attachment, which in turn bounced, you get the idea…

    I pointed this out to the sender who promptly sent two more emails with even more attachments.

    Suffice to say, the start-up failed and I’ve never seen the individual on-line since.

  • We used to get an email from the receptionist every tuesday saying “Hey guys, I’m going to get Vietnamese hot pork rolls, let me know your order”. There were always a few that would reply all. Usually one of the staff that worked for a company specialising in… email.
    One of the MD’s of the other companies replied all saying “You’d think that people who work in email would know how to use it. Please stop replying all”. This happened a few weeks running, then the same bloke sends an email “OK, the next person to reply all to the sandwich email pays for everyone else’s.” Apparently instead of the usual 10 sandwiches that were ordered, the request went up to 50 about ten minutes later when someone did indeed reply all!

  • My boss has 2 mailing lists. 1 for very dirty jokes (which includes a few of his friends + a few guys in the office), 1 for normal jokes (which includes his sister, mother and other relatives + most of the people in the office and a few clients). One day I received an email titled “find the peach” (I’m sure most people should be able to guess the content of that email). 5 minutes later I hear him screaming from his office: “F#$&! BLOODY F#$&! (his name) YOU F#$&ING MORON! F#$&! F#$&! F#$&!”. Turns out he sent the email to the wrong mailing list.

  • A sales guy sent a rambling emotional email to the entire org explaining why his last name had changed. Evidently he and his father never had a good relationship and lately it had gotten so bad that he was writing him out of his life.

  • Just stumbled on this discussion group, hope I’m not too late to respond to the original question.

    Like in any work place we all sometimes get network issues. One time our email was sort of down, the issue was people were not receiving them on time and or it taking a long time to send. Our IT department sends a message out to ALL EMPLOYEES notifying everyone that there is a major failure with the network and they are working to resolve it. Now that notification took a while to get through.
    Anyway they ended up resolving the issue and sent another notification around 10:30pm that night to all employees explaining that the problem is fixed.
    This one guy from another department replies to ALL EMPLOYEES:
    “Email has been down since 3pm. And you are informing us @ 10:30pm? Talk about a day late and a dollar short.”

    Dude, how dumb do you sound right now? Perhaps he was being sarcastic… who knows. It’s difficult to convey that in a email, at least put a HaHa or something.

  • New HR girl sent around an excel sheet asking people to update their mobile numbers and personal email addresses. A few of us noticed that there were hidden column on the excel sheet. Unhiding them we then saw the Salary and bonuses for all 100+ employees in the company.

  • Company wide email from tea towel police:

    This weekend I had to soak the tea towel before washing it because it was so stained. This is annoying in itself but it highlights a more serious problem as it means that cutlery is not being washed properly, presenting a hygiene problem.

    With all the coughs and colds that have been circulating the office recently, it is essential that you wash cutlery really thoroughly and put it back in the drawer. Sometimes spoons are left on the top and it isn’t clear whether or not they have been washed and they just get put in the drawer.

    Having found spoons in the drawer with remnants of yoghurt, I understand some members of staff now actually wash cutlery before use and that shouldn’t be necessary.

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