Best Practice: DO NOT put Out of Office (OOF) message if you are away on official work

Out of Office (OOF) is a common habit. We put it when we are not on our desk. But in today’s world of mobility, internet availability and smart phones, it should be used ONLY when you are really on LEAVE.

I have seen people pout OOF message when they are traveling on official visit, in off-site, undertaking training programs and so on. That is NO LONGER a valid reason for putting OOF message.

I do agree that your response will be delayed in such circumstances. But there are two related arguments in this context.

Firstly, people do not expect lightning fast responses in general. If you respond in few hours, it is ok. And whatever official work you have, meetings, flights, etc. you will get a break. And what do you do in the break? Check mails. So DO NOT bother to set OOF.

Secondly, even if you are in some so called engaging activity, most people are checking emails during off-sites, training programs, and even during customer meetings.

In short, use OOF with discretion. Period.

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Insert Screen Recording using PowerPoint

Often presentations don’t include just slides. There is some demo of some other software associated with it. How to capture the demo also as a part of the presentation? That required third-party products till now. But now, PowerPoint 2013 includes Screen Recording as a feature. Here is how to use it.

Continue reading Insert Screen Recording using PowerPoint

How to know that the other person is Out of Office BEFORE sending the mail! Mail Tips

This is a frequent occurrence. You send a mail to someone and the reply comes back instantaneously! Unfortunately, it is just an Out of Office message. Grrr… You wish you had known it earlier, in which case you would have sent the mail to someone else or taken some alternative action. Of course, this is possible – BEFORE you send the mail. Using a smart and AUTOMATIC feature of Outlook called Mail Tips. All that you have to do is to LOOK. While you are adding email ids of recipients, Outlook is checking if they are Out of Office. If they are, it will display their ACTUAL OOF message. Often we have an alternative email id available. Now that you know that the person is not going to respond, you can act accordingly.

Mail tips feature

This works with Outlook 2010 and Exchange Server 2010 (or above). If you do not know which version your organization is using, contact your IT team. The recipient should also use this version of Exchange server (if they are outside your organization) for this feature to work.