Mobility is nothing new. In fact email on the go has been a part of our lives since the late ‘90s and is now considered to be table stakes – it’s seen as a “given” and we’ve marched ahead with many new services available on the move.
This ability to work from anywhere is of course predicated on the fact that you remain always on and connected.
It does therefore surprise the writer that there are still people using their out of office assistant to claim they are unavailable because they are not at their desk. Anything for a peaceful life eh?
I’m the first to accept that typing on the phone keyboard isn’t easy, and auto correct can prove embarrassing, but to have the technology and power that a modern smartphone provides and to claim isolation is rather poor at best.
Does an ooo have a place? Yes it does. Holidays are to be encouraged and switching off for some personal downtime is a must. Letting people know that you are traveling can also be helpful as driving and accessing your device is to be discouraged.
Common sense and good practice are live and well, and good judgment is still with us. Technology is still very much under our control and Skynet remains just a concern.
Created and posted whilst on the move from my iPhone – apologies for any typos
Is it just me becoming the inevitably grumpy old man, or are there others who see what I see when they encounter the Out Of Office email response!
To be precise I’m not bemoaning all OOO responses, some are delightfully informative and helpful. After all if you know that you are going to be in a long meeting, it’s actually helpful to know who to go to in your absence.
What I am referring to are those “I’m not in the office therefore I’m incapacitated and the device you know I’m carrying no longer functions or I’m simply having a lazy day away from all the hustle and bustle but trying to kid you all I’m so busy that communication is simply impossible” out of office replies.
I’m not sure exactly what these say about the person brushing us off – are they saying we should believe communication with us is now impossible without some miracle, or are they assuming that all but them know that the technology has not only been around and in use for many years but is now indeed mainstream.
I think at the core I feel somewhat insulted and agitated that anyone would think this is an acceptable way to (un)communicate….. There rant over!
After all – What do I know?
I’ve not long finished reading a really interesting book by Tim Ferris titled 4 hour working week and there were some interesting take-always for me which could potentially work in my situation.
I do wonder how some of the concepts introduced would work for most people though, and in particular I’m referring to his slant on email communications. Tim asserts that email is too intrusive and one should aim to read and respond far less frequently than most of us do.
Consider how “helpful technology” has enabled us to receive and read our emails at any time in any location on a myriad of different devices, and the culture this appears to have driven…. A culture of email appearing to be an urgent communication. I have witnessed (and indeed have succumbed to) MS Outlook appearing to drive daily activity of email conversations. Tim suggests that an auto responder should be set to reply with a clear message setting expectations that a response will be delayed to preset times each day, or even each week (over time as part of a transition plan).
Personally I like this idea, as I agree that email has become far too intrusive and that there is no better way of urgently communicating, than the telephone, after all we all have at least one and it is good to talk.
I reckon if we all decided to treat email as a communication tool rather than our god, then we would almost certainly increase our overall productivity, and get far more done.
But what do I know… Happy Christmas everyone and remember to put your out of office on.