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I am currently an intern in a company in Singapore. My supervisor's colleague gave me a small task and asked me to collate some details about others interns. I did it and sent him an email. He replied "Thanks!". Should I reply back something like "No problem" / "It's alright" or shall I just leave it and don't reply anything? I want to be nice. Is it ok if I just do not reply back anything or is it more polite to at least reply back a "No problem"?

Thanks in advance for any answers.

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Note: I have no knowledge of Singaporean social customs. If it's different in Singapore, my answer does not apply.

It's not necessary to reply.

"Thanks" was already a superfluous reply, intended purely for the sake of politeness.

  • When interacting face to face, it's customary to respond with "you're welcome".
  • If you are replying to his mail for a different reason (e.g. an ongoing discussion), it's similarly customary to respond with "you're welcome" before continuing with the ongoing discussion.
  • However, if your reply consists of only "You're welcome", then there shouldn't be an expectation for you to reply.
  • Replying again may mildly annoy the recipient. It's possible he sent the "Thanks" as a way of ending the conversation. I doubt they'll take offense if you reply anyway; but they may get mildly annoyed if you keep doing it repeatedly. Especially if this person receives many emails during his work day, it may be better to not add another email to his inbox.

You're allowed to reply.

However, there may be ulterior reasons for you to reply "you're welcome":

  • If you're building rapport with this person, you could e.g. reply something like "You're welcome. Should you need information in the future, feel free to email me."
  • If the person sent you an elaborate thank you (not just a terse "Thanks"), then he has put in a lot of effort to thank you. The minimal effort of replying "you're welcome" would likely have a positive effect on this person's opinion of you.

It's up to you. There's no expectation of a reply, but it's not inherently wrong to reply.

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At least in my work culture (Japan) it is seen that the one receiving work should always end the email conversation. In this case, I would respond with something along the lines of,

"You're welcome. If you have any questions regarding (insert the thing you did), please let me know."

This way, it isn't just a simple "You're welcome", but offering clarification if it is needed, and it doesn't come off as you ignoring them.

I'm not entirely sure how things are done in other countries, so I'm not sure how applicable it is to your specific workplace.

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In the US, it would be all right to respond with "You're welcome" or something similar. Also, does your supervisor know you did this? It would be good to let him/her know as well. The main thing, again relative to US culture, is not to be seen as "sucking up" to other bosses. Some like it but the really good bosses see through it and don't.

  • My supervisor is not in office. It was a task that took me like 2 mins. So i did not inform my supervisor. Should i? – Susmitha Nov 10 '17 at 3:52
  • Other colleagues don't give me tasks to do usually. This is the first time. And it was a small task. Therefore, i think it is ok.. – Susmitha Nov 10 '17 at 3:55
  • Replying something along the lines of "You're welcome" should be good right? – Susmitha Nov 10 '17 at 3:56
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Not sure if this is cultural thing (I'm Australian) but it would be considered quite annoying and 'spam-like' if we responded to such emails.

My supervisor's colleague

I am assuming they are also in a supervisor position so they probably task tons of small tasks every day; and with emails especially its considered more polite to keep it as simple and on-task as possible to help them manage time. If you wanted to say something extra I would have added it as a small footer in the email you originally sent when you completed the project but I wouldn't stress over it, doing the project well and on time is what they will really appreciate. They have already acknowledged your work and responded with "Thanks" so I can't see any good coming of responding again.

  • Looking at the timestamps, you may have already responded to the supervisor :D no worries, even if you are in a similar workplace to mine, its your first task and this is just one small and thankful email. I'm sure its fine either way – Jesse Nov 10 '17 at 6:05
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I don't think that is necessary, since:

  • He recieved the work and had a chance to look at it
  • He didn't have any further queries.

Sending something like "You're welcome. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask" wouldn't hurt, but it's not necessary I think.

Often times, what supervisors and senior colleagues will appreciate is if you save them time. In this case, I think not answering would be better and leave a better impression, since you've already delivered the work on time and (presumably) correctly. No need to interfere further in that impression.

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