My “No” is No—Except for My Out-of-the-Office Autoreply

via Bill Peel
March 20th, 2014

Because technology now makes it possible to work from anywhere any time, we can work from everywhere. Nowhere is safe from work’s intrusive ping, beep, or ding. That begs the question why do we use the Out-of-the-Office Autoreply function on our emails.

Richard Moran, CEO at Accretive Solutions  wrote in a recent blog entitled “The Big Lie",” “No one believes out of office status any more. No matter where we are, what we are doing, and whom we are with; we all sneak time to check and respond to email. Worse, we all expect others to do the same.”

When I read this article, my first thought was yikes, I have been lying. Is this tantamount to asking your assistant to tell callers that you’re not in? Probably not, but I confess, it’s really hard to avoid the temptation to check email and make sure there are no catastrophes brewing that need my immediate attention—even when I’ve let people know not to expect a speedy reply or asked them to contact someone else in case of emergency. Here’s what I would post if I was really being honest. “I’m out of the office and will check email occasionally, and if I think it’s really important, I’ll respond before I get back.” Of course I can’t say that.

But here’s the problem. What’s going through my head when I am on vacation is: I better answer some of this stuff or I’ll have 500 emails in my inbox in a week when I get back to the office.

So much for “Jesus’ instructions to let our “yes be yes” and “no be no.” Moran suggests we add “REALLY” to out of the office when we want to take a break. Maybe it has come to that, but maybe we need to be a little more disciplined for our mental, spiritual, and physical health—either that or find a place to vacation and rest where there is no Internet access.