I Hate Email Auto-Reply!

If you want to reduce the amount of email you receive, you could start by sending less email, and that includes turning on auto-reply much less often.

With the holiday season over, and a new, exciting year beginning I’d like to talk about email auto-reply.

Last Thursday I sent out a standard discussion document to my clients, as I always do on a Thursday, so that they have time to prepare for the class before Monday. There were six people on the list.

Within a few minutes of pressing “send” my email inbox filled with six auto-reply responses telling me that my clients would be away on Friday 1st January, not returning to the office until Monday the 4th. Well, hello? I’m not stupid. I know offices are not open on the 1st January — pretty much the same in most countries around the world. Yet, these people still turned on their auto-reply.

Every week my clients tell me about the madness of their email inbox overload, and they complain about walking in the office every morning to an inbox of 100 plus emails. Sadly, these guys just don’t get it. The more email you send, and that includes auto-replies, the more email you are going to get. They complain about receiving too many emails, yet they are partly the cause of this email overload.

Back in the day before email, when we sent typed letters, we never replied with a “I’m sorry I’m out of the office until …” letter. That would have been a bit overkill. Yet, for some reason we send them out now — just because we can. I can understand the convenience of sending out auto-replies when you are taking a personal holiday, or if you have international clients / suppliers / partners and your country is having a special national holiday (an Independence Day for example), but for New Year’s Day? Really?

So for the new year, please can we start with a little common sense, and start thinking about what we are sending via email? It would be fantastic if we all could unite in agreeing that sending an auto-reply on an internationally recognised holiday is not necessary and that for other times, perhaps adding a little PS at the bottom of our emails informing your clients, partners and colleagues you will be away on a specific date a week or so before is all we need to do.

If you want to reduce the amount of email you receive, you could start by sending less email. Turn off your auto-reply!