We’ve all been there. You’re away at a company offsite, a training or spending the day completely dedicated to your kids (or yourself). Then, you return to work the next day dreading the piles of emails. It’s almost as if people didn’t read your OOO, or just decided to email you anyway.
When this happened to me the usual reaction was to mentally FLIP OUT, then take a breath and dive right in. Now, I manage my emotions – and my colleagues – a lot better.
What I’ve learned is that people are willing to respect your time under a few circumstances:
- They understand why you’re out
If you’re in a training – honing your leadership skill set – say so. If you’re off backpacking through the Alps – say so. Whether it’s for business or for pleasure, your OOO is a great opportunity to let your internal and external customers know what you’re working on (personally and professionally).
2. You can point them towards (or provide them with) info that will make their lives a little easier
If you generally get questions from a few different categories, direct emailers to a few subject matter experts so their questions get answered. Another best practice is to attach a list of FAQs on (non-confidential) questions you’re often asked to limit the email backlog.
3. Keep the boundaries clear
If you’re out of the office…be out of the office. Don’t return to the office one day because “you just had to get something”. You’ll suddenly open the floodgates and never be able to close them. If you’ll be available by email, make that clear and if you won’t be, make that clear.
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Adwloa Dadzie is a Director of Human Resources for a Fortune 500 corporation and Career Strategist. The views expressed in this post are Adwoa’s and do not reflect the views of her employer.