What's the Latest?

What does your out-of-office (OOO) e-mail alert say about you? This is the question pondered by Richard Godwin in a funny piece up on the website for the London Evening Standard. Godwin explores the many different fashions and styles of OOO messages: the sorry-not-sorry, the humblebrag, the lazy attempt at humor, etc. Continuing the fashion analogy, Godwin explains that concision is definitely "in" this season. The best away messages, according to him?

"Out of Office until August 30."

"OOO until August 30." 

"OOO."

What's the Big Idea?

One of Godwin's more astute points is how the nature of these messages has changed with advances in e-mail technology. In the past, your work inbox was only accessible via the terminal on your desk. The rise of device culture has granted our inboxes a little pair of wings to fly around with us wherever we go, like a solitary little raincloud hovering above us in perpetuity. The new cultural expectation is that people allow themselves to be accessible at all times, which is just blathering nonsense (and fairly unhealthy).

So what's the perfect OOO for your situation? The responsible thing to do is mention when you plan to return, offer an alternative contact in case of pressing need, and (potentially, but don't feel compelled) to provide an honest confession that, yes, you are checking your work e-mail from a beach in Aruba, probably because you hate yourself.

On second thought, maybe just type "OOO." It's very "in" right now.

Read more at London Evening Standard. It's a very pleasant read.

Photo credit: AlexussK / Shutterstock