I enjoy the fact that I can work from anywhere, but that comes with a price…I end up working from everywhere. Sometimes that means working while on a vacation with my family, and sometimes that is fine. But sometimes, the work must stop, and to do that, email must also stop.
Originally, I had planned to post the following as my automatic vacation responder, but after feeling out the concept on FaceBook, I got some valuable feedback from some friends and have decided to explain myself here. And post an abbreviated message as my auto response.
First, here was my original message:
“Thank you for your email. I am taking a much-needed vacation and will be disconnecting completely from my email from [DATES]. Additionally, I will not be going back to read any email received between those dates upon my return.
Yes, you read that right.
Doesn’t the standard out-of-office email usually say that the recipient will respond when he returns to the office?
Yes, it does. And, no, I’m not.
I mean no disrespect by giving you this notification, but I expect that some will find this rude and unprofessional. If that is you, please hear me out.
Email is a funny thing. We can put these out-of-office responses on while we attempt to take a break from our work, and yet we have to come home from our vacations to thousands of unread emails in our inboxes and spend the following week frantically catching up with correspondence. As a result, many of us determine that it is easier to sneak a peek at email from time to time while on vacation and respond to the important ones to help alleviate the tyranny of the inbox upon return home.
I have determined that this is not a good way to relax, which is the point of taking a vacation, after all. As such, I will neither read, nor respond to any email received between [DATES].
Since you are receiving this message, you have one of three options:
1. If this is an urgent business matter requiring immediate attention, please contact my colleague, [NAME], at [email] and he can direct your request to the appropriate person on my team who can assist you.
2. If this is not an urgent business matter, please set yourself a quick calendar reminder to contact me again after [DATE] so I can provide you with an adequate response. I’ll do the same for you if I get a similar message from you in the future.
3. You are free to ignore this message, and we may or may not connect on the matter requiring my attention in the future.
Feel free to join me in my fight against the tyranny of email by doing the same next time you take a vacation. I promise to afford you the same courtesy your are giving me.
The feedback I received from FaceBook was overwhelmingly supportive, but one friend though the message was a bit unprofessional, and another said “great concept, but tl;dr” (“too long; didn’t read” in case you were wondering). In light of the constructive criticism, I have chosen to post a more simple vacation responder directing the sender here if they choose to learn more.
Here’s what I ultimately decided as my auto-response:
Thank you for your email. I am taking a much-needed vacation and will be disconnecting completely from my email from [DATES].
If this is an urgent business matter requiring immediate attention, please contact my colleague, [NAME], at [EMAIL] and he can direct your request to the appropriate person on my team who can assist you.
If this is not an urgent business matter, please contact me again after [DATE], so I can provide you with an adequate response.
For my complete thoughts on email and vacations, click here.
If you followed that link here from the vacation responder, thanks for taking the time to do so.
What are your thoughts on this? Necessary? Unprofessional? Offensive? Empowering? Rude? Should I have left this as my vacation responder?