I'm Not Here Right Now

Outlook has an Out of Office Assistant that will notify people that you're not in the office, but unfortunately it's only available if you're using Exchange Server. What about me? I don't have Exchange Server, and like to leave my office occasionally.

If I'll be out of the office for more than a day or two, I notify most of my clients, but sometimes forget to tell a few people. If they email me, I don't want them to think I'm ignoring them. Fortunately, if you don't have Exchange Server, you can create your own AutoReply.

I keep forgetting how to do this, so next time I travel I can follow these AutoReply instructions for Outlook 2003 on the Microsoft website. First you'll create a message template, then set up a rule in Outlook, to determine who gets the message, and when.

When you leave the office, turn on the rule. Outlook should be left open, and set to automatically receive and send messages. It will only send one notice per Sender during any session of Outlook, so if the same person sends you another message they won't get another AutoReply .

Happy travelling!

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2 Responses

  1. Peggy Duncan says:

    I caution clients about Out of Office replies. If you get any spam, you’re also autoresponding to the spammers, letting them know that yours is a legitimate email address (and that you’re away from your office/home).

    If you have the reputation that you get back to people in a reasonable amount of time, it’s OK to let a day or two pass.

    Another option (and what I do) is that I’m never a day away from email, regardless of what I’m doing. My laptop and BlackBerry travel with me. I stay on top of email, keep important work the priority, keep my Inbox to one screen. In other words, I’m not stressed by email because I’ve learned how to manage it.

  2. Thanks Peggy, you raise some good points. If I’m travelling on business I’ll certainly check my email and reply ASAP. When I’m on vacation, I try to stay away from it.

    For autoreplies, I limit the list to emails that have a client’s name in the sender’s address. Those spammers can wait till I’m back in the office.

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