A few weeks ago at work, one of my team members was on vacation. He had left the office physically, but his mind was partly still there.
Now I’ll be the first to salute someone who takes time out of a vacation to address an emergency, but otherwise a vacation is for getting away. I had made that point to the team member, yet he was dashing-off emails from the Mexican seaside along the lines of, “Hey, how did that meeting go?”
By mid-week, the rest of the team decided an intervention was necessary. So I took our vacationer’s out-of-office message, changed some words, and sent it to him in response to one of his messages, autoresponder-style.
From: Steve Krause
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 2:03 PM
Subject: RE: seller_update/verify_run_metis_client
Thank you for your E-Mail,
You are out of the office August 25th through September 1st, returning Tuesday, September 2nd. In the meantime, if you have temptation to contact the Intelligent Cross-Sell team, please resume your normal vacation activities instead.
If this is an emergency—defined as “I can’t stop myself from using this Blackberry thing”—please call your own voicemail and leave yourself a message.
Thank you and have an ICS-free week,
The ICS Team
And thus was born the Inverse Out-of-Office Message. May you be so fortunate to have an employee so enthusiastic that he or she needs it.