Out Of Office

October 01, 2007

My employer utilizes Microsoft Outlook for email and calendaring. The culture here uses the calendar to track outages. When you are going to be out of the office, whether for training, the dentist, or vacation, you are to send a meeting announcement to your team letting them know of your absence. It's a good idea, provided everyone follows a couple of simple rules.

  1. Make sure to leave your name out of the description of the event. This way it will appear to all who accept it that they are going to the dentist for root canal work.

  2. Always mark the event as Busy, so that everyone has that time blocked out on their calendar too. After all, if you aren't going to be here, no one should be getting any thing done? Right?

  3. Send your event announcement to the widest possible audience. Use departmental mailing lists rather then just the names of people you work with on a daily basis.

  4. Be sure to require everyone on your event. If you mark them as optional then they won't have to send you a response.

  5. Don't proofread your event. Software is tested in production, so why shouldn't everyone on the company-wide distribution list have to accept or decline multiple iterations of your outage as you correct the date, the time, the location, and the description six times.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.