The importance of the ‘out of office’

I can just recall the days before smart phones, when we had to use ‘out of office’ even for the odd days away so people knew not to expect an (almost) immediate response. Nowadays, people have access to their emails 24/7, so why bother?

Here are some reasons!

Time out

We all need time out no matter how much we love what we do. The out-of-office takes the pressure of responding in a timely fashion.

Refresh

Your business won’t collapse without you being at the helm. Will it? It may do you the world of good to have some time when your brain is clear to think and plan. Perhaps you can do this for occasional days throughout the year?!

Delegate

If you have staff or outsource your tasks, this is a good time to see how well they operate without you. 

Minimise Emails

Letting your emails build up is a fantastic exercise in handling them more productively in the future. Learn to love email again by unsubscribing, answering tightly and avoiding unnecessary email conversations. Next holiday, you’ll receive less!

Professional

It gives you an option to let your contact know what action they should take while you are away. Perhaps you have an alternative contact to give them or link to FAQs on your website? The return date should definitely be noted here.

Success

It tells people you can afford to take a holiday, and that’s got to be a good thing as far as your business is concerned. Clients appreciate you coming back refreshed and ready to support their needs.

Need to Know

People like knowing when you’re not around. It feels more personal plus they can adjust their plans accordingly. A lot of the time, I get lovely messages from people wishing me a good time and that the reply can wait!

Responding to email while out-of-office

It’s your judgement whether you answer your emails while on holiday, despite having out-of-office on. I tend to glance over them each day, if only to delete what I don’t need, forward what can be dealt with by others or write quick responses. Mostly, I love picking up good news as soon as possible!

I also like to come back to a neat, concise inbox of just those emails I need to work on so I can be productive on my first day back rather than spending it going through hundreds of emails. However, I try really hard to avoid responding to clients as I don’t want to set a precedence that I’m always available when I’m sometimes unreachable! I use the same rule at weekends too. Draft the emails may be, but wait to send them at an appropriate hour.

Depending on your business style, how about a fun out-of-office response that will surely put a smile on the receiver’s face? Maybe avoid gloating about being on the beach but ‘offering seasons greetings’ and looking forward to catching up upon your return is warm and friendly.

Next week: The good, the bad the ugly of out-of-office email messages.

Do you have a witty out-of-office you use? Do share it with us below!

Or tweet us on @CraftySkills1