Saturday, November 10, 2012

Out of Office!

"Out of Office" is an important feature of an Email Program, not sure why some of us go bonkers while using it. Here is how I treat some of the creativity displayed in such messages.

“I am in a meeting till 1 pm so shall be able to reply to your email post that only”
Dude, no need to announce if you are away from desk for couple of hours. Next you’ll say “I am off too the loo and shall be able to reply post washing my hands only”.

“I am not in Mumbai but operating out of Delhi office,  please expect a delay in reply”
What the hell man, both are in the same time zone, If you got a PC/Laptop there, why delay!

“I am in an offsite at Lonavala till 19th and shall have only intermittent access to emails, I'll reply when back in office”
We all know what happens in off-sites,  well, without digressing what purpose does it solve for the email sender whether you are in offsite or not.
Image acquired through web
“There are public holidays in India on 13th, 16th 18th and I am on leave on 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th. I’ll be replying to you when back”
Now this is heights, why you announce full India Holiday Calendar and your leave plan in Out Of Office email. Email sender is smart enough to figure out that you have clubbed leaves with holidays to have a long vacation, so don't try to fool around.

Mind you, "Out of Office" auto-reply is not a four-square that you'll convey your offsite locations. It's also not a twitter timeline that you need to tell what are you doing. No way it's your appraisal form that you convey to your boss and all others, saying "I am busy in back to back meetings". 

Well, to me, an email out of office message is just to intimate the email sender that you are not in a position to reply and whom the sender should contact in your absence. In the era of Blackberry and iPhones, it’s even meaningless to call it “Out Of Office” because you are any how connected even if not in office. 

A simple and effective out of office should say – when you’ll be back in office (don’t confuse the sender by saying, I am out till 19th if 20th and 21st are weekend) and whom to contact if urgent.

“Hi, I’ll be back in office on 21st, please contact John at