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2 minute read

Leadership

9 Signs You're In Out-Of-Office Hell

The summer is in full swing and everybody's going on vacation. Too bad their out-of-office messages are loss-inducing awful.

Last week my bonus son was married to the love of his life. I took the week off for wedding festivities and returned eight days later to an inbox full of out-of-office replies from others. If you have followed me for any length of time, you know how much I despise out-of-office emails. An out-of-office email is off-putting and consumes my precious time.

Either check your email while you are away, or have someone do it for you. You should be able to check your email anywhere in the world on your mobile phone or, at the least, on an iPad, laptop, or other tablet device. If you can’t, then I’m not sure you are sufficiently up with technology or up to the task of taking care of my business in a timely and professional manner. When the NASA astronauts were finally able to check their email on the International Space Station, you ran out of excuses.

If you must, absolutely must, use your auto-responder, please read the following and adjust your out-of-office missive accordingly:

"I am out of the office until Friday June 21st."

It is Monday, June 24—so where are you now? If you can’t remember to turn your auto responder off in a timely manner, what other small details are you missing?

"I am out of the office and traveling inernationally."

Check your spelling before this email goes out—over and over again.

"Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office returning on Tuesday, June 18th."

I need something before then and you gave me no one to contact so I guess I’ll go to the competition to get the work done.

"If you need immediate attention, please contact National Headquarters at 5xx-xxx-xxx2."

I am not going to get immediate attention if I do not know who to ask for.

"Heading to Vegas."

Great, I have to work and I hate you. Plus, don’t they have email and Internet access in Las Vegas these days?

"Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office. In my absence please contact G——-s at extension xxxx or D———k at extension xxxx."

There is no phone number anywhere in the email so those extensions will not do me any good nor will I take the time to go look up your phone number.

"I'll be out of the office until Thursday, June xx. I won't be able to check email regularly, but expect to be able to occasionally."

Sigh.

"If you need immediate assistance please call the office at xxx-xxx-xxxx and ask to speak to someone."

Well, I guess that’s better than no phone number. Perhaps the janitor can help me.

"Due to a staff wedding, the XXXXX office will be closed until Tuesday, June xx."

Even I like this one. This shows me this company cares about their employees and have their priorities in the right order. For you, I’ll hold off and wait for your return. Plus, I am a sucker for weddings these days. . . .

Related: 3 Ways To Really Put The "Vacate" Into Vacation

[Image: Flickr user Alex]

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