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Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It 232

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-away-messages-to-yourself dept.
AmiMoJo writes Sure, you can set an out-of-office auto-reply to let others know they shouldn't email you, but that doesn't usually stop the messages; you may still have to handle those urgent-but-not-really requests while you're on vacation. That's not a problem if you work at Daimler, though. The German automaker recently installed software that not only auto-replies to email sent while staff is away, but deletes it outright.
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Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

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  • by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:11AM (#47694209)

    I used to do something similar as the author. My out of office was something to the effect of

    "I will be out of the office from XX to XX. During this time, John will be my point of contact and he can be reached at john@email.com.

    If you prefer to wait until I return to work, please send me a follow up email so I know your request still needs attention."

    That said, I still went through all my emails when I came back. This system just helped me prioritize.

  • They are clueless... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by benignbala (1157427) on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:17AM (#47694255) Homepage
    about what Out-Of-Office responses are meant for. The primary reason you have them is :
    You *want* to convey something to a bunch of people and you expect some response. The Out-Of-Office just says don't expect a response from that person. But that person is still expected to read the emails.

    Also, there are numerous occasions where people have been assigned tasks that need to be handled later, but the assignment was done when they are out-of-office. My own manager comes in at 8:00 am, while the official work hours start at 9:00 am. So, I get mails just within an hour before the out-of-office period ends. I definitely don't want those emails deleted.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:32AM (#47694357)

    I think the point is to not have work pile up while on vacation. I do not think people use "out of office" for after work hours.

    Some of the people I work with use "out of office" for weekends. It's a passive-aggressive way of fighting back against the corporate expectation that everybody will login for email 24/7 (an expectation that got worse as corporate-issued mobile email devices got pushed further down the ladder).

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Monday August 18, 2014 @09:44AM (#47694471)

    "You don't have to check it while you are on vacation. You can actually ignore it."

    You don't _have_ to, but you can.

    This is Europe.
    There _is_ no unpaid overtime!
    If people check their mail during vacation, they are working, and they have to be paid and their vacation is still due an they can sue the company when they leave (or not) to get payment for the missed holidays or weekends.
    Same thing if you get sick or injured during a holiday, the days don't count as holiday but as sick days, even if you stay there at the beach bar with a cast for 4 or 5 weeks. (although you can't drink alcohol, since this can hinder a speedy recovery)
    The vacation days are still due.

    Also, people with a security/dangerous job have to be alert and cannot have worked _anything_ 8 hours before the shift, if case of an accident or other misfortune, the company would be liable.

    "So why delete what could be important communication? Just deal with it when you are back in the office."

    If it's really important, the vacation guy is replaced during his absence and the replacement handles the email.
    If that's not the case, it's not an important job, even if the tenant thinks it is.

  • by Golden_Rider (137548) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:01AM (#47694645)

    I've never interpreted these auto-replies to mean that I shouldn't send mail to that address. I thought they're just courtesy replies from a robot explaining that it'll be a long time before anyone reads it.

    Deleting the email seems like a bad idea. That'll keep the recipient from being able to read it when they return.

    And WTF does this have to do with overtime?

    In theory you could just let the emails sit there until you are back at work, but in practice sadly it is often expected that you check your email inbox every now and then. Employees often feel that they can't say "no" to the expectation that they have to be available via email even while at home off work hours. To protect employees (because vacations and off work time are to be protected, for health reasons), there are discussions in Europe about introducing new regulations which would make any such "off work work" paid overtime, by law - effectively making it financially interesting for companies to prevent emails from reaching their employees when they are off work. This Daimler story is just one example of that.

  • Re:It's not annoying (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:10AM (#47694725) Homepage

    So for a routine issue, you'll know that you at least have to wait X days until the person returns.

    Problem is that it's more like X days + however long it takes that person to do all the other tasks that have built up while they were away.

    Daimler are just moving the work from the person on holiday to the people sending them emails. Instead of that person having to sort all their email when they get back, the people sending the email sort it for them while they are away. Anything that can be passed on to others is, anything that has to wait gets re-sent if it is really that important.

    No-one likes to come back to an inbox full of crap after a holiday, and it probably doesn't help Daimler either. Many of those messages will be pointless and get deleted instantly anyway. The person will waste lots of time chasing other people to see if they handled things.

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Monday August 18, 2014 @10:31AM (#47694933) Homepage

    Employees often feel that they can't say "no" to the expectation that they have to be available via email even while at home off work hours.

    People just need to make it clearer that you will be unreachable. My managers stopped when they insisted that they needed a way to get a hold of me in case of emergency since I would be well out of cellphone range. My response was a trained tracker and a team of search dogs. I told him about where I was going to be leaving my car and said to start searching there as I would be somewhere up in the north woods of Minnesota.

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