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 But today, when it comes to perception, it's an out of date technique that reveals you either: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)