Out Of Office Autoreplies

It is possible to configure your email to automatically reply to emails you recieve while you are "out of the office". These auto-replies can be useful for letting people know that you might not be reading their email as soon as they may have been expecting - especially if you are away enjoying the sunshine on a tropical island.

Everyone is different - some people expect you to have read their email as soon as they sent it, others don't expect you do anything with it until a day or so later. Bearing that in mind there is no hard and fast rule as to when you should set up "out of office" auto-replies. If you set them up everytime you are out of the office, some people will get annoyed by your auto-replies. For example, say you go out to lunch, and set up an auto-reply that says "I am out to lunch, will be back at 1pm". If someone then sends you an email at 12:50pm, they'll get that message. By the time they get it may well be after 1pm anyway, and they really didn't need an email saying you were going to be back at 1pm.

Also, if you get your emails delivered direct to your phone, pda, or laptop that you carry with you when you are out of the office, and you intend to read / act on / respond to emails while out of the office, then these auto-replies are of no value to you.

Additionally, if someone is sending you an urgent email that they want to know that you got, then they have some responsiblity in requesting a "Read Receipt" on the email they sent you. And if it's really really urgent, they could always phone through too as there are many factors that can cause an email to be delayed anyway, not just you being out of the office.

Overall, our recommendation is that you use these "out of office" auto-replies if you are out of the office for an extended period of time, in which it is reasonable for someone to expect you to have received an email and acted on it. For some people that could be if you are going away on holiday, for others it could if you are leaving the office a few hours before closing time.

The following is an example of a suitable "out of office" message for someone that has left the office early "I am out of the office for the rest of the day, but will be back by 9am tomorrow. If you email is of an urgent nature, please contact Jimi on jimi@mydomain.com, or call the office on 555-5555. I am also available on my cellphone on 555-555-5555."

Hopefully that was some food for thought, and you can now make a personal judgement on what works best for you.

Turning ON "Out of Office" Replies

Log into your webmail account.
Go to Options
Click on Auto Response
Fill in the Subject and Body of your auto response email
Click "Going Away"

Turning OFF "Out of Office" Replies

When you come back into the office, remember to turn off the auto response again.

Log into your webmail account.
Go to Options
Click on Auto Response
Click "Coming Back"