Email Autoreplies – Let’s Be Real
Here’s an idea, a little email etiquette tip that I hope you’ll consider. When you are out of the office and you create an auto reply because you won’t be addressing emails in your absence, how’s about you use language that is accurate and honest?
Case in point, just this week, I sent out an email to a group of folks that I work with and I got a bounce-back reply from someone who is on vacation. We know she’s on vacation and her email autoreply said, “I will be unable to check email for the next however many days.” Because we work with this person closely (we being this team of folks that are together on a project with her), we know that she will have access to email, but she is choosing not to check email in her absence while she’s traveling. And we think that’s awesome.
In this instance, perhaps it would be a great tactic and a freeing tactic to just say, “I’m on vacation for the next seven days, and I’m not going to be checking email” rather than saying “I’m not able to.”. Another colleague of mine actually created a little graphic. It’s like the mountains in Nepal, and there’s this little tiny figure on top. And the person is saying, “I can’t access emails.” It’s not that kind of situation.
And the main point here is: let’s normalize taking days off. Let’s normalize letting people know I’m not going to address your email in my absence. Let’s speak that truth whenever is reasonable.
I’ll give an example.
It’s not Nepal in the mountains thereof, but a couple of years ago, I went to Kenya and I had no idea what my access to email would be. So I let people know upfront that I would be traveling to the far reaches of the world from where I live and it was a wild card about emails. I wouldn’t have access. And also, even if I did, I wouldn’t be checking because I got to go to Kenya and I kind of wanted to be present in the moment in Kenya, not checking emails.
I also acknowledge there are times where it’s nobody’s business what’s going on. So I’m not asking you to reveal your details, but I am suggesting that we just make this language more open and honest and normal. I’m going away to spend time with myself, my family, my friends, whatever details, not necessary, but even if I see your email, because I kinda do check a while I’m away, I’m not going to deal with it.
Just a thought – a little bit of email etiquette and modern day working environment nuances that I think could really help us all.
Take your days! Even if you keep up with email just enough to know what’s happening, feel free to not respond. Set your boundaries with those you work with, with the people in your life, so they understand and have expectations that are reasonable, that fit within your boundaries about how you will be communicating while you’re out.
Therein lies a lot of liberation for all of us.
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