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Submitted by Schuggie on


Can anyone recommend some wording for my out of office to let people know I now only check my emails 3 times a day and if the email is importent- call me! I remember listening to an example in a podcast but cant find it on the shownotes.

pucciot's picture
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I don't know why you would need to let people know your day to day working habits.

The whole point of email is that it is asynchronous. You are not expected to have an immediate reply. Otherwise, that would be some kind of live chat.

If you read and respond to an email within 24 - 36 hours then that is all that is expected.

You should only need an "out of office" reply if you will be out longer than that.

You can go to meetings right ? Go to the restroom ? Go to lunch ? Talk around the water cooler ? Are you allowed concentrate on a task and ask for no distractions for a while ?

If you do all of these things, then who is to know when you are or are not checking your email.
It is none of their business.

My recommendation -- let them sit. Let them wait a bit. Let them get a little impatient.
Be willing to stand in the heat just a little bit. If they are not your Boss - then you can stand it.

Eventually, people will get the hint that you will respond to them within a business day.

If someone is complaining then just kindly request that if an issue is urgent that they kindly do two things to help you help them :

"Tom, I'm sorry that I didn't get to your request as fast as you would have hoped. Please, it would help me a lot if you could put some kind of deadline in the email so that I can prioritize it. And if it is an emergency that needs to be taken care of by the end of the day, please give me a phone call or stop by my desk., Thanks."

Basically, what I'm saying is - go ahead and do what you need to do.
Let them learn your habits. You learn theirs.

Use the out of office message for real absences.

Over time you will all get used to this new work rhythm.

Good Luck


delete_account_per_reacher_145083_dtiller's picture
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Check out the MT casts on email, they will give you all the guidance which is you should only ever check emails as often as you are checking so you are doing it correctly but as above, you don't need to advertise.  Others will see you habits and learn to perhaps call or come see you for urgent matters.

One additional point is you may want to use rules to respond more quickly to you boss should they have urgent requests.  I generally find it good practice to not let the boss wait.