Managing being “Out of the Office” and Your Inbox

It’s the dilemma that’s so common now – when you’re “Out of the Office”, how “Out” of the office are you? Following on from Part1 and the importance of putting some helpful structure to your email ‘out of office’ bounceback, a simple-to-follow formula of Acknowledge/Inform/Guide is useful and hits the spot. It’s also the safest bet to show your clients, customers and colleagues how professional, helpful and thoughtful you are. You are, aren’t you?

Depending on how you’ve decided to handle being away by doing one of the following:

  • Read your emails regularly whilst you’re away, twice per day for example
  • Have someone read them and then sort out the ones you need to read when you return or
  • Read them all but only when you return you can just slot your information in and then lean into enjoying your holiday.

Here are a few simple samples to slot your words into:

Reading your emails regularly whilst you’re away

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X.
  • Inform: I will be reading and responding to my emails in the meantime and will do this twice per day.
  • Guide: If you message is urgent and you need immediate assistance, please email John Smith, Title, who will help you. You can email him at — or call him on 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.

Someone reads them, sorting out the ones you need to read on your return

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X.
  • Inform: My colleague, Jim Smith, Title will be accessing my emails during my absence and will make sure any which need immediate attention are handled.
  • Guide: If you want to speak to Jim Smith or call him direct whilst I’m away, he can be contacted at —– or you can call him on 123 456 7890

Read them all but only when you return

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m out-of-the-office at the moment.
  • Inform: I will return to the office again on August X and in the meantime I have no access to my emails
  • Guide: If you require immediate assistance, please contact Jane Smith, Title, who will be happy to help you. You can email Jane: ——- or call her direct on: 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.

There’s always a balance to achieve and to weigh up how your emails impact on your time away is a decision you have to make yourself. There’s always a rub.

If you decide to read them and respond to them whilst you’re away, agree you’ll read them and respond to them for a certain period of time, say an hour, every day at the same time. Plans can then be made around that and you can tell people when you’ll get back to them. Managing their and your holiday companions expectations too!

Helping yourself by discussing this first with everyone makes it easy for them to understand and let you get on with it. Trying to do it between trips or between meals just becomes stressful.

You may, or may not agree but this quote sums up the point here: “Time for work – yet take much holiday, for art’s and friendship’s sake”. George de Wilde

Putting a bit of structure in place will set you free and anyway, everyone needs some down-time, some time to reboot, so lean into a successful holiday, a managed inbox and your art and friendships too.

How do I learn more about Kay?

To have the opportunity to discuss any blind spots you know you have or things that are slowing you down or holding you back as you connect, persuade and compel people at work; click here to apply for a complimentary conversation with Kay.

Article reproduced with permission of Kay White, Communication Specialist and Mentor at Kay shows professionals how to be understood. Get quicker, faster and better results by becoming a more effective, influential and savvy communicator – everywhere in your life.

Kay’s first book, The A to Z of Being Understood is a Number 1 Amazon Bestseller for Customer Service.

In addition, you can listen to an exclusive interview with Kay where she shares several exclusive tips on how to immediately make your communication more powerful and persuasive:

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!