Vacation Preparation: Before you go

by epi on July 2, 2013

Q: When I go on vacation and am out of the office, I always worry about someone forgetting that I am away and not being able to respond to their email quickly enough. Aside from putting it on my work calendar and notifying my colleagues, what can I do?

A: Don’t let emails that arrive while you’re on vacation go unanswered. Most systems allow you to program an “out-of-office” response that tells the sender how long you’ll be away and who to contact if the message is urgent.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

D July 2, 2013 at 10:54 am

I agree about the auto-response, but also… should one really be checking emails on vacation to get back “quickly enough”? That’s not much of a vacation at all. I wish North America didn’t have such an obsession with working.

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Lilli July 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Agreed! Email makes it so hard to get away. I have a policy that I will not look at or respond to emails while I’m on vacation; however if something super urgent comes up and I’m the only one that can save the day my people have permission to call me on my cell phone. Guess how often they call? Almost never! Making a phone call involves actual human interaction and they feel too guilty to interrupt my vacation unless it really is urgent and important. I’m not going to interrupt my own vacation to check email in case something came in – someone else has to interrupt my vacation by calling me!

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Ashlee July 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Manners can still be observed while on vacation. A nicely written “out-of-office” email is sufficient to let others know that you are not in the office/available. I make a point to say that “I will have limited access to email OR I will not have access to email” and include someone that others can reach in my absence.

As a culture, we must allow people to truly unplug from work. It is unreasonable to expect people to check their emails (and voicemails for that matter) constantly while they are on vacation.

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