Maybe it’s time to reclaim the initiative!
I’m determined not to turn into one of those who begins every discussion with “I remember when” but … bear with me a minute! Do you remember when people worked like mad to get finished up for their annual holiday and then that was it, two weeks of blissful silence from the world of work, for them and their families? If anyone called the office, the reply was “they’re on holiday, not back until Monday” or whenever. The caller would back off and make a note to try calling again on their return.
Nowadays, the caller may back off but will send the lucky holiday recipient an email for them to receive on their return. Great for the sender as it allows them to tick a box and puts the ball into someone else’s court. Not so good for the poor soul who then returns from holiday to an inbox containing a few hundred emails. Or, even worse, resorts to checking their email whilst on holiday to try to contain the size of their inbox for their return, probably undoing any good their getaway was having on their (& their partner’s) wellbeing in the process! I’ve lost count of the times this year that I’ve asked someone about their holiday and been told “It was good, but to be honest by the end of my first day back I may as well not have bothered because there was so much waiting for me in my inbox”. Sound familiar?
So, it was music to my ears when I heard about an enterprising little ploy someone has started using which I hope will catch on and become a new trend. When they leave for holiday, they set their emails to auto-delete (I know, I can hear an audible gasp!) and send an out of office message along the lines of “Thanks for your email; however, I am currently away from the office enjoying a holiday. In order that the benefits gained last longer, for both myself and the company, your email has been auto-deleted to ensure that I don’t spend my first day back solely filtering my inbox. If there is information you need to pass on or that I need to action, please re-send your email on …”
Daring isn’t it? But, on thinking about it, it’s really just the modern day equivalent of the phone call scenario mentioned earlier and leaves the responsibility with the sender, not to mention getting rid of all the superfluous twaddle we all receive. I suppose the only thing you need to make sure is that you remember to cancel your auto-delete on your return or you could discover that the saying “no-one is indispensable” is true after all!