Delayed response


Ever send someone an email and get a canned reply saying they aren’t there? I receive these quite often, but I don’t understand why the response time is so inconsistent. Presumably, you configure your email program to send the response automatically whenever an email comes in during the period you’re out. If the whole thing is controlled by a computer, why does it take hours — or even days — to receive the automated reply? I know email isn’t an instant medium, but it’s pretty lame to have to wait five hours to learn the recipient is on vacation.

Even better, scrap this auto-reply nonsense and take a proactive approach. Figure out the people you communicate with the most by email, and send them a brief note saying that you’ll be out. It’s also polite to tell them who they can contact for help in your absence. I’ve been doing this for about a year, and it’s quite effective.