Do not use texts to conduct agency business.
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.
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 the IT department 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 [Name] at [email]."
- Part-Time Employees on a Fixed Schedule – Please use your signature block (see an example of page 2 of this document) to indicate your hours, rather than an auto-reply.
- Programs With Extended Closures (like summer) – "Capital Region ESD 113's [Program Name] is closed until [date]. For more immediate assistance, please contact [Name] at [email]."
When answering the phone, say, "Capital Region ESD 113, this is [Your Name], how can I help you?"
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 the IT department 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 the IT department for help.
- Test your tech. Make sure your camera and audio are working properly before you join the meeting.
- Behave as if you were there in person. Show up on time and dress professionally. Sit or stand attentively and avoid multitasking.
- Keep your camera on for small group meetings. It’s difficult to interact with a screen full of blank boxes. But please turn your camera off, temporarily, if you are moving from one location to another.
- Remove distractions. Find a quiet room and shut the door so you can focus on the meeting.
- Use the “mute” button. When you’re not talking, make it a habit to keep yourself on mute to avoid background noise.
- Pick your place. Just because you can Zoom from anywhere you have an internet connection does not mean you should. Choose a neutral location (not, for example, your doctor’s office or hospital room) and DO NOT Zoom and drive with your camera on.
- Respect others’ time — and your own. Some colleagues have Zoom meetings booked back-to-back, all day and all week. Consider ending meetings a bit early to allow for a few minutes to respond to emails and stretch their legs. Take annual leave and sick leave to take care of yourself, when needed. You are not expected to be available 24/7.
- Confirm next steps. Free-flowing conversation can be fun, but remember to land on next steps and action items. Be clear about decisions and who is doing what so your meeting feels like an efficient use of time.
We want all of our guests to feel welcome! Some best practices for greeting visitors:
- Be prompt. Greet guests immediately when they enter the building.
- Offer a warm greeting.
- Inquire about how you can help them.
- Direct them to where they need to go.
- Provide your name and an offer to help while they are here.
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 team if you need a template that is not provided in the links below.
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, contact the communications team.
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, 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
We have ESD-branded virtual backgrounds available for you to use during your Zoom meetings:
We have logos available to download in a variety of styles. When using a logo, please keep the following in mind:
- The logo must remain proportional at all times — do not stretch the logo to fit available space.
- Allow enough white space around the logo to ensure legibility and identity.
- Place the logo on a background that allows it to be completely readable and identifiable.
- Do not use Microsoft Publisher. If you need a layout, contact the communications team.
- Red: #8A221B
- Teal: #006B68
- Green: #687834
Download maps of the state of Washington and of the districts in ESD 113.
Free images (After you search, you must click Settings > Advanced search; scroll down to "usage rights" and choose "free to use or share.") If an image is not labeled "free to use and share," do not use it.
- Proper reference to ESD 113 is "Capital Region ESD 113." Once the official reference has been made in a written document, it can be referred to as "ESD 113."
- Phone number format: 360-299-4000
- Oxford comma: a comma before "and" at the end of a list.
- One space after a period.
Everyone benefits from clear and concise writing. Use the hemingwayapp to check your writing — aim for 8th-grade level.
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 team will then share that news on the ESD's Twitter and Facebook accounts.
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.
Request a meeting with the communications team.