When an “Out of office autoreply” is received into your inbox, it is increasingly common to get something like this…
“Please note I am on annual leave for the next two weeks. I will only be checking my emails intermittently.”
There are two reasons why this “halfway house” is a bad idea, regardless of your responsibilities or seniority. Firstly, by checking your emails at all, you are not getting away from work completely. By checking your emails, you will never get work out of your mind, the things in the laboratory which were stressing you will still be stressing you, defeating the purpose of leave in the first place. Time is a great healer…
And secondly, by checking emails whilst on leave, you are giving the perception of distrust for those colleagues who are covering for you. Leave them to it. They are more than capable.
There is not much that cannot wait in the microbiology laboratory. And anything that cannot wait, should never be sent by email.
With smartphones, the temptation to keep in touch with work whilst on leave is almost overwhelming. Don’t do it! Switch the notifications off. Even better disconnect the email app from the server. Remove yourself from temptation, you will still have a job to go back to when you return, and people won’t think any less of you because you have been totally incommunicado during your holidays. In fact they may well have a grudging respect….
Enjoy your holidays, spend quality time with your family, and forget all about work for a while. You will likely come back rejuvenated, and ready to provide value to your microbiology laboratory.
Trust me, the sky will not fall because you are not there.
So the next time you are on leave, put something like the following on your out of office autoreply.
“I am on leave until date X. Person Y is covering for me. If necessary I will get back to you on my return.”
Take leave like you mean it!
p.s. Worried about that mountain of emails that awaits you on your return? Don’t be. Give yourself 1 hour exactly to clear the bulk of your inbox. Be brutal, ruthless and without remorse. Many of the email topics will have been sorted, or forgotten about. You will soon work out which emails are actually important, which in reality is about 1%!