Anyone that knows me will realise that I can occasionally have a real sense of fun – and the traditional email ‘out of office’ message has not escaped my attention.
Older messages used to read along the lines of:
You get the drift!
Over the years they have ‘evolved’ and taken on a *tiny* bit of my personality (ooops!). It began slowly, with the odd quirky word, then a sentence.. or two.. until earlier this year’s was more along the lines of:
Maybe a step too far? I confess, I have reined it in a bit (and yes, Norway was AMAZING thanks!).
Now to the point. Is the Out of Office out of date?
There are various personas of ‘OOO’ users:
The Enthusiast: those that change their OOO message more often in one day than I go to the gym in a month, informing emailers that they are in a meeting til 11 am, then on coffee break til 12, followed by ‘concentrating on emails til ‘ finishing with a ‘off home for the evening, back in at 8!’. To this person – I salute you – it’s all I can do to remember I have an OOO facility!
The not-so-much of an enthusiast: those that are 7 days into a 14 day laze on the beach when they realise they forgot to set their OOO, send a text to the chap in the IT department asking them if they could just sign in as them and set a message for them please. Yup, I have been guilty of this in the past – my excuse is that I am sooo busy tying up loose ends before I go that I forget – and I am sticking to that excuse!
The one-liner: I am out of office. Hmmm, not the most useful information, but hey – at least you know they just aren’t ignoring you… until 3 weeks passes and still no response..
The story teller: that’s me (when I remember to set it) – guilty as charged. I let everyone know when I will be back, who they can contact for ALL aspects of my role, what I will be doing whilst I am away and have even been known to put (and I quote) *normal service will be resumed shortly*
The ‘still on holiday after 6 months’ er: when they went on holiday in July and in December you get an OOO autoresponse to your email that says ‘I am OOO and will return on 1st August’. DOH!
As much as I love to declare that I am out of office, and that I hope the organisation won’t collapse without me, it’s a tad old fashioned.
Consider this, more and more of us are never IN the office – we work from wherever, and often flex work – so at times to suit either ourselves or business demand. Out of Office is the standard now – so perhaps it is time to ditch the OOO and have an ‘in the office alert’ – and I don’t mean a flashy red light and a siren that announces one’s arrival in the car park… although that might be fun!
Do we even need anything at all? On Facebook we can see if friends are online, business is no different.
With unified communications (UC) and ‘presence’ indication – we can see if colleagues or associates are online or in a meeting. Is it really just as simple as an alert that says ‘I am not working today’.