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Out Of The Office??

You know the "I'm out of the office until blah, blah" automatic response emails that you can set up in Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail, or other email programs when you're traveling or on vacation?

According to Phil Cooke, his advice: Don't use it.

If you can't afford an assistant - or at least a Blackberry to track your emails when you're traveling, then don't use anything at all. The auto response was designed way back when very few people could afford laptops or PDA's to check email on the road. But today, when it comes to perception, it's an out of date technique that reveals you either:

1) Don't have a staff or assistant

2) Can't afford a PDA, Blackberry, iPhone, or laptop to check your emails on the road.

3) Are so anti-technology that you don't care about your business or personal relationships that much.

4) All of the above.
Either way - very few people use them anymore, because it doesn't make you look very professional... Not to mention that people get annoyed when they receive them. A much better approach is to condition your associates, family, friends, or business relationships, that email isn't an "instant" communication method. If they need something ASAP, either text or call. Then you can stop sending the auto responses.

My only concern about Phil's point is how do you condition the "world" not to expect an instant reply when they send an email. For instance, when I am on vacation, I want people to know, that even though you can send me an email, don't expect an instant response, because I am ON VACATION. Now I think Phil's point is valid if you are simply traveling. In this day and age, we should have the means to track and respond to email while on the road.

What do you think? How do you handle your email while traveling? Or while on vacation?

(ht: Phil Cooke)



I agree with your "concern". I do a PDA that I use to check email while traveling. I think it gives a Pastor some needed and greater flexibility to not be tied to the office.

However, time away needs to be protected to an extent. I think one of the best ways to combat the expectancy of instant response is to not respond instantly. Even better, turn off the instant notification and check email only once or twice a day.

Just my thoughts.

Paul Kuzma

I completly disagree with this articleand I am a young guy of 27.

Our church has a secretary and youth ministet that will let folks know I am out of the office.

I have an iPhone and MacBook that go on any vacations with me.

I love my church members and friends and they can tell.

I believe an out of office message is great way to remind those who are sending you messages that know you are away and to inform those who have missed the info. I would rather someone recieve this short reply which should include an immediate contacts information so that they can be helped right now.

Believing that I need to be the one that addresses every need that comes to my email is foolish at best and arrogant at worst. my Church does not revolve arround me and I am not available for something that needs to be handled right now having the contact information for another minister and elder can be invaluable.

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