ooo reply

On any given day, our staff is receiving between 200-300 emails! Every message counts and requires time and thoughtfulness to respond. If we are out of the office and won’t be looking at those messages, our Out of Office assistant [OOO] can be a lifesaver! It lets people know that we won’t be able to get back to them that day and leaves the contact info of someone who can assist them immediately if needed. How convenient!

But what happens when we abuse this feature? If we each set our OOO every time we stepped away from our desk, our inboxes would be filled with unnecessary notifications, and so would our customers’! We are very mindful of that and don’t want to frustrate our customers by sending them yet another email that is just not needed.

Here are some ground rules for setting your OOO that you can implement personally, and share with your team:

Stepping away from your desk?

The only time you should turn your OOO on if this is the case, is if you are stepping away from your desk for the entirety of business hours and won’t be checking your emails at all.

Physically out of the office?

If you are working and just out of the office meeting clients, either check your emails while out and about, or have another team member check your messages for you. Turning on your OOO assistant in this instance would not be advised.

Running errands for work?

You are still working; so don’t turn your OOO on. Just check your messages regularly.

In meetings all day?

Yup, you are working, so don’t turn that OOO on. Check your emails between meetings and respond to those that are more time sensitive immediately. If you are in a meeting all day that won’t allow time to check your messages, make sure you have a team member checking your email and responding accordingly.

On vacation?

Turn that OOO on! If you are one of those people that must check their messages even when you are supposed to be relaxing [you know who you are…] it is appropriate to still turn on your OOO. If you don’t turn it on, and something comes up while on vacation, and you don’t end up checking your messages for the entire day, your customers won’t know! Turn it on and be okay with not checking your messages. It is still advised to have someone on your team checking the messages, especially in the title and real estate industries where time is always important. But just know that there is no shame in going on vacation and turning that OOO on! You deserve it!

Clients expect you to be checking your emails frequently and responding fairly quickly, no matter if you are by your desk or in a meeting. Many times, clients treat emails as phone calls and it turns into an immediate response situation. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give them a call, eliminating confusion and a pile of emails in their inbox. Because who wants to read yet another confusing email chain?