Formal Email Greetings to Use in the Workplace (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

3 January 2022

Formal email greetings are usually appropriate for the majority of workplace emails you might send. There are a variety of greetings you can choose from that apply to many situations. Understanding how to choose a greeting can help maintain your professional standards at work when communicating with different people. In this article, we explain what formal email greetings are, discuss how to choose one and provide some example greetings.

What are formal email greetings?

Formal email greetings are the opening lines of a professional or formal email. Workplace emails may start with a formal sentence because it can be professional and respectful. Depending on who is receiving the email, the greeting may vary. For example, if you send an email to a new business associate, you may use a formal greeting. You may use another to message a colleague. A formal email greeting is often generic and can apply to many different types of emails.

Related: A Guide on How to Start an Email (With Tips and Examples)

How to choose an email greeting

When you choose an email greeting, there are usually a few things to consider that can help you begin your email appropriately. Below you can find steps on how to choose a formal email greeting:

1. Review the recipient's details

To start your email with a respectful tone, you may consider using the recipient's preferred honorific, such as Mr, Mrs, Miss or Dr. If you know the recipient's name, but are not sure about their honorific, you may just include their name. If you're unsure of the recipient's personal details, you might include an impersonal greeting that doesn't specify a name or honorific.

2. Consider the type of email

You might send emails for a variety of purposes, such as resolving a workplace conflict or sending business proposals to associates. The purpose of the email may determine which greetings are appropriate. For example, if you're replying to an email chain, you might greet the recipient with Thanks for the timely response. This is because the prior email might have already formally addressed the recipient.

Related: How to Write an Email: Your Complete Guide

3. Consider your relationship with the recipient

When choosing the tone of your email, it can be important to consider your relationship with the recipient. If you have a strong relationship and regularly communicate, you might send a semi-formal greeting such as Hope you're doing well,. If this is the first time you're communicating with the recipient, you might use a generic and formal greeting, such as Dear [recipient's first name],.

Related: 15 Best Practices for Email Etiquette in the Workplace

Most common email greetings

Below you can find some of the most common email greetings to use in the workplace:

  • Hello [recipient's first name]: This is a semi-formal email greeting that can be appropriate to send to work colleagues or alternative recipients. This greeting shows a level of respect and professionalism, but also suggests that you have an existing relationship with the recipient.

  • Dear [recipient's full name]: If you know the recipient's name, you can address them with this greeting. This greeting is typically the most generic and formal to include in a work email because it can show a certain level of respect towards the recipient.

  • Greetings: Addressing the recipient with a simple greeting such as this one is often a safe and respectful way to begin an email. If you're unsure how to spell the recipient's name, this is typically an acceptable greeting to use.

  • To whom it may concern: If you're unsure who the recipient is and are conversing with them for the first time, you can start the email with this greeting. This greeting is formal but could be considered impersonal, so if you know the recipient's name, it's typically best to address them personally.

Email greetings for different situations

Below you can find some of the different types of email greetings you could use for a variety of email situations:

Semi-formal greetings

You might consider using some of these greetings if you're emailing a colleague or someone you have a strong workplace relationship with:

  • I hope you are keeping well

  • Hello [recipient's first name]

  • Hi [recipient's first name]

  • I hope this email finds you well

Follow-up email greetings

If you're sending a follow-up email about the content of a prior discussion or email, you might consider using some of the following greetings:

  • As per discussed on our phone call

  • To follow on from our meeting

  • As promised

  • As per my last email

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

Time-based greetings

Depending on the time of day, you might greet the recipient with a time based greeting. It's usually wise to only use these types of greetings if you're certain the recipient can receive the email within the same time of day. Below you can find some time-based greetings:

  • Good morning

  • Good afternoon

  • Good evening

Email response greetings

When replying to a chain of emails, you can greet the recipient by referencing the prior email. Below you can find some greetings you may use when replying to an email chain:

  • Thanks for the update

  • Thanks for the quick response

  • It's great to hear from you

  • Thank you for getting back to me

  • I appreciate the timely response

  • I appreciate the assistance

Multiple recipient greetings

If you're sending an email to more than one person, you may use generic greetings that don't specify a quantity. Here are some greetings you can use when you're emailing a team:

  • Greetings everyone

  • Hello everyone

  • 'Good morning all

  • Good morning everyone

  • 'Hello team

  • Greetings team

  • Greetings

Cold email greetings

Cold greetings refer to email greetings you might use when emailing a recipient you haven't met or conversed with before. Here are some examples of cold greetings:

  • Dear [recipient's full name]

  • To whom it may concern

  • Hello [recipient's full name]

Related: How to Introduce Yourself in an Email (With Examples)

Example emails with appropriate greetings

Here are some example emails that include appropriate greetings regarding the recipient and the context of the email:

Semi-formal greeting

Here's an example of a greeting that could be in an email from an employee to their colleague whom they know well:

Hello Henry,

I hope you're keeping well.

I'm just writing to confirm if the tanks require dips and measurements for this week. I'm visiting the site tomorrow morning, so I can potentially do them myself.

All the best,

Shana Arias
Site Supervisor

Follow up greeting

This is an example of an email that includes a greeting from someone who is following up on a previous discussion:

As per our previous discussion, I'm wondering if it may be a better decision to hire a loader for the week. This way we can save on labour costs and hopefully finish the project before the bad weather arrives. I'm currently searching for a nearby machine hire company. I'll let you know when I've gathered some quotes.

Best regards,

Pearlie Huang
Project manager

Time-based greeting

Below is an example of an appropriate time to use a time-based greeting:

Good morning team,

Around midday, an electrician is going to fix some of the charging docks around the office. If anyone has a faulty outlet at their station, please feel free to email me and I'll be sure to let the electrician know.

Kind regards,

Betsy Neal
Office manager

Email response greeting

Below you can find an example of a greeting you could use in an email when responding to a colleague's response to an earlier email:

Thank you for the timely response.

I believe your suggestion for a dark colour scheme is perfect for the interior design of this project. Thanks again for getting back to me and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Kind regards,

Alberto Norman
Interior Designer

Multiple recipient greeting

Here is an example of a greeting in an email with more than one recipient:

Greetings everyone,

If anyone has an interest in the upcoming trade conference, please feel free to send me an email expressing your interest. We're booking several tables and hope to see many of you there.

Kind regards,

Melvin Jennings
Human resources

Cold greeting

Here is a way you could send an email with a greeting to a recipient that you've never met or conversed with before:

Dear Eva Mayer,

My name is Grace Espinoza from Backstreet Gardens. We are hosting an event on the 4th of January and hoping to hire eight of your outdoor heating lamps. If you could please provide me with a quote for eight heating lamps I would be very grateful. Thank you for your time and I hope to hear back from you soon.

Kind regards,

Grace Espinoza
Event manager