Dodging The Dangers Of Standardized 'Out Of Office' Replies

Out of office replies have long been a staple and necessary aspect of business operations. After all, letting clients know that it’ll be awhile before they hear back is better than radio silence! 

As we move deeper into the inter-connected age, though, many people are calling out the evils that can be inherent in out of office replies. As can be seen from articles like this one on, there’s a host of problems with this now-outdated system. Risks of security breaches and annoyance alone can wreak havoc if you aren’t careful. 

That’s why many companies are doing what they can to reduce the need for notifications like these. And, we’re going to look at a few of the ways you can do the same. 

Incorporate improved remote processes

Image by Charlotte: CC0 License

Often, employees set up out of office notifications as soon as they step out, even if they’re attending business meetings, or traveling for other company purposes. This is because, once upon a time, being out of the office meant being largely uncontactable. But that needn’t be the case any longer. If you consider remote-working capabilities like the VoIP phone systems outlined on, then being physically out of the office needn’t prevent team members from being within easy reach. Even better, the ability to contact the employee in question on your office number ensures that out of office approaches never need to inconvenience your clients again. 

Delegate to someone else where you can

In some cases, of course, team members will be off on annual leave or trapped in meetings that altogether make them non-contactable. In this instance, delegating their incoming contacts to another member of the same team could be best. Admittedly, some clients will want to deal with just one colleague, but given the collaborative processes of most modern workforces, there’s no reason to operate in silos. By instead offering an alternative and informed point of contact, you should find the majority of clients are far more satisfied than they would be if they simply had to wait until their usual communicator returned. 

Be clear on timings

Image by Tim Mossholder: CC0 License

Given that out of office replies are most often relevant outside of work hours, it’s also worth being clear on your business timings at all costs. After all, the less ‘out of work’ messages your company has to send, the less risk of damage as a result. Instead, be sure to list timings on every ‘contact us’ listing you incorporate. As well as ensuring clients know the best times to contact you for a reply, this ensures even those who do send messages in the dead of night aren’t left expecting a reply that doesn’t come. This, alone, should reduce annoyance a great deal, thus removing much of the harm out of office messages could cause otherwise. 

Do you need to do away with OOOs altogether? Perhaps not. But, eliminating them from your processes as much as possible could certainly lead to smoother business operations, and clients that are more satisfied on the whole.

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