Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In-Office Out-of-Office Replies

Have you been getting a lot of e-mail lately, responding to your e-mail, telling you how often the recipient answers their e-mail?

You know, the mails that say: Dear Colleague, [polite explanation] I am checking and responding to my mail twice daily. [more polite explanation]. If you need urgent assistance [contact someone else/text me]. [yadda yadda yadda] Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency and effectiveness. [additional politeness to cover for my telling you to sod off] Sincerely, [sig]

To avoid being accused of plagiarism, I acknowledge that this text is copied from The 4-Hour Workweek. Also, to be perfectly fair, Tim Ferris isn't completely to blame. Eben Pagan also deserves credit for these increasingly common autoresponders.

So, let me get this straight: you are making better use of your time by sending me extra mail to read? Hey, thanks, man. At the very least you could make it 1 sentence instead of 3 friggin paragraphs.

I'm not saying I don't understand. All I'm saying is "DUH." I know the difference between e-mail and instant messaging or SMS/text messages.

It is true that since the advent of the Blackberry, some people do have an e-mail infusion and answer at every hour of the day and night. For those people, the only cure is twitter. For the rest of us, the default is that Instant messages require Instant answers, and e-mail doesn't.

For those of you who work with colleagues who think that e-mail is an instant gratification machine, let me offer at tip to counter Tim and Eben. My tip is: don't send an autoresponder or any response until that time of day when you answer mail. People will get used to it, and if they complain, deal with them on an individual basis. Spare the other 90% of us your long-winded autoresponders.

Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency and effectiveness.
It will help us to serve you better.

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