You’re productive and you like to receive replies promptly to your emails when engaging in business. No one has time to mess around. So when the weather warms up, with it comes the inevitable surge in out-of-office replies. This can be frustrating for your customers and downright bad business if you don’t handle it properly.
Going into this busy season of absent employees, it’s a good time to look at the right ways and the wrong ways to inform the world—and your coworkers—that you’re away from your desk and vacationing your cares away. There is an etiquette around this seemingly trivial aspect of email. Here are some tips:
- Create calendar update. Make sure that you update your Outlook calendar to reflect the dates you will be away. Set an Out of Office status and a standing Appointment for those days that you are going to be absent so that coworkers can see your calendar and schedule meetings appropriately, knowing when you are and are not available.
- Don’t blanket the company with your out of office reminders. Send The Outlook appointment containing your Out of Office status only to the people who will truly be impacted by your absence—your manager(s) and those you work with regularly. There’s nothing more annoying than getting daily out of office reminders, so make sure to turn that off.
- Prepare your auto responder message. In Outlook, go to Tools, and then Out of Office. Fill in your message, as well as dates and times you will be away. There are also Address book rules that should be set so that you choose who receives your notification. For example, you do not want your Out of Office email to go to external parties, which would include spammers. For security reasons keep it internal.
- Provide some pertinent details. You’ll want to include the dates you’ll be away, and when you will return. Also mention when you will be able to reply to their message. You may be able to check emails once a day or once a week while away, so let them know, but do not over promise on this point. The fact is that you may not be able to keep your promise so it may be in your best interest to include a name and contact information of a colleague who will stand in for you in your absence.
- Keep the details to business. Nobody wants or needs to know what you’re doing on your vacation so don’t be a braggart and assume people want to hear about your lobster dinners or parasailing adventures. Just the simple stuff from point 4 above is all you need.
We’re happy to help you find better more advantageous ways to use IT in your daily business. Contact TechnoAdvantage today for help using Outlook or other ideas to make your company run more smoothly.