If you’re planning to head off on holiday in the near future, then you may well be looking forward to a well earned break from the hectic world of recruitment. It is absolutely essential to use your holidays to relax and have fun to avoid the intense periods at work causing you to burn out or lose motivation, and so whether you are going far away or just having some nice time off at home, you want to make sure you’ve set everything up so you’ll have no need to worry about work until you return.
Getting cover on anything you know or suspect will come up during the period you are off is the most important step, but then comes communicating about your absence. If you have candidates who are in active interview processes, it is of course important to let the clients and candidates know you’ll be away and who to talk to in your absence, however for other less predictable communications, the good old ‘out of office’ email notification is usually the way people find out you’re on leave. Here are some points on what to write to make your OOO (Out of Office) notification just right:
No False Promises
You might feel that it is a good idea to say in your out of office notification that you can still be contacted on your mobile for emergencies. This is a rookie mistake. Your co-workers shouldn’t be the kind of people who would let you show up on the Monday after your holiday to find out something incredibly big has happened, so if there is something you yourself would consider an emergency you’ll most likely be told.
Inviting people to contact you in events they consider to be an emergency, however, means you may well end up paying roaming charges to listen to a candidate tell you she’s going to be ten minutes late to her interview from your sun lounger in Zante. Don’t say you’ll be checking your email periodically either, even if you plan to. It is better for people to consider you unavailable and be pleasantly surprised if you reply sooner than expected than have them expect a reply before you return.
It is a good idea to name a person, or a couple of people who can field enquiries for you in your absence, but make sure this is brief and clear. You may have organised for different people in the office to cover different clients or tasks, but leaving a whole roles and responsibilities list as a reply to every email you receive is overkill. Clients and regular contacts should know who to talk to instead of you before you go, and for anyone else, just give one contact.
Mention If Anyone Else Will Be Checking Your Mail
Some people don’t like the idea of anyone but the planned recipient reading their messages, so if you have set up rules to forward mails to someone else, or given someone else temporary access to your mailbox to cover you, it is best to mention this in the OOO notification. It will also make things less confusing if that person is likely to reply to your emails, too.
The tone of your OOO message is very dependent on your brand and your own style, but getting the key information in about when you’ll be back and who to contact if the sender can’t wait that long needs to be done right, to ensure you leave everything under control and can have a relaxing break!
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