The dilemma of going on vacation — coming back from vacation to an inbox full of emails. I know how many emails I get on a daily basis, and multiply that by the number of days away makes for a long time to catch up when you return. I hate to think about all the emails I will have when I return from vacation before I go on vacation.
Daimler has this policy that I found after reading this article “The Fundamental Unfairness of the Vacation Auto Reply” for when their employees go on vacation:
“The car and truck maker has implemented a new program that allows employees to set their email software to automatically delete incoming emails while they are on vacation.
When an email is sent, the program, which is called “Mail on Holiday,” issues a reply to the sender that the person is out of the office and that the email will be deleted, while also offering the contact information of another employee for pressing matters.”
That would be amazing. What baffles me a bit though is it says offering contact information of another employee for pressing matters. I am a bit of a customer service buff. So is that like writing to a store that happens to be closed and their auto reply is to have you send them an email during the hours they are open? What is the person who emailed the individual on vacation supposed to do if they do not have a pressing matter? Make a reminder for themselves to contact them again a week later? Feels like it would be amazing for the individual on vacation, but not such great service for the person who needs their help.
Separate from needing help, what about organization emails that share pertinent information? Those I assume would get deleted as well? That does not make sense to me either. Part of sending a mass message like that is to inform a large group of people at one time. The sender assumes the recipient will read the information and consume it at their convenience. It is up to the recipient to retain that information, but if you were on vacation and had “Mail on Holiday” you might miss out on necessary information to do your job.
What do you think?
I like it – the only challenge i see with this is that we have no sense of email decorum whatsoever (not cc’ing the world; To field vs CC field; clear reason for the comm; and i can go on).
so even if we instituted this nation wide, i feel we’d still have the angry text or call from our boss because we did not respond in 45 minutes. then we’d still get the “i was unaware you are on vacation – do you have a quick second?” openings despite the fact that we were either swimming with dolphins, skiing a double black diamond or cresting Mt. Rainier.
what i have done for many years is provide my cell phone and say that if it is an emergency, call. this typically causes a barrier where people must ask themselves if it is an emergency. the couple times i was challenged why i did not respond to the email or provide the product needed by a specific date, i ask why they did not call me. this usually diffuses the situation.