Out-of-Office for the Holiday? Don’t Return to Information Overload

Karen Arena, Xerox public relations consultant

Are you taking time off and  unplugging (forced by snow or otherwise) during this holiday?   Here are some things you can do that will minimize the overflow that will certainly pile up while you’re away:

Information OverloadChange your Voicemail Greeting. Set up an alternative greeting to be active while you are away.  Include the dates you are out, backup contacts, and whether you will be checking voicemail.

Block off your calendar. Schedule your time off as an appointment on your Calendar. Mark it as “Out of Office” not “Busy.”  When people try to schedule you for meetings or wonder why you haven’t been responding, they’ll see that you’re out of the office.

Set up your e-mail “Out of Office” assistant. Include the dates you are out, alternate people to contact, and whether you will be checking e-mail frequently, infrequently, or never.  This lets people know if you won’t be responding.

Check your mailbox size. See how full your mailbox is already.  If you are close to the limit, delete messages or move them to personal folders.   All companies set mailbox limits.  So check with your system administrator to learn the exact number.

  • Keep only what you need. Look for common culprits that take up your e-mail storage space.  For example:  Sent Items, Deleted Items, Synch Issues, and your Calendar.  Be sure to review your company’s document retention policy to see what to keep, and for how long.
  • Create personal folders. In most companies, personal folders are stored on your PC’s hard drive so they keep your server mailbox from getting too full.  Be sure to store it on your hard drive, not a network drive, to keep it safe.

It’s probably not a good idea to forward your corporate messages to your personal e-mail. Your personal e-mail account is not appropriate for business communications, and auto-forwarding e-mail to external parties is usually prohibited at most companies.   Check to see if your office has web-access to mail and use that instead.

If you have more tips on  how you’re managing your information while away, we’d love to hear from you!

At Xerox, we hope you take a pause and overload on good times with family and friends.  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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