One of the last tasks I complete before leaving on vacation is setting my Out of Office message. In the past, I always worried about missing something.
Setting my out of office time was easy; everything else gave me anxiety. Did I give a reason why? Did I set expectations for how often I would check my email? Would I let people know what types of messages would get responses? How many places should I redirect people?
My second guessing of these questions always depended on the duration of my leave and the point of the semester we were in. I wanted to be helpful but I also wanted a real break.
Then I went on maternity leave. I had zero qualms about staying offline then. My automatic reply essentially said: I will be gone these dates on maternity leave. Contact this main email or schedule an appointment with another librarian here.
That was it.
It's a recipe that still works. Now, I just say what dates I will be away, give an alternative email, and link to our appointment scheduler. I don't say why I'm gone. I don't say I'm going to check email. If I do check (and reply) to email, it's a bonus.
I've been using this system for three years now and it's never been an issue. People don't complain. Nothing gets missed. More importantly, I don't feel the need to justify why I am on leave or working while I'm away.
All of this is a nice introduction to say that I will be out of office next week. There will be no posts on the blog. I will resume my regular posting schedule on Monday, August 15, 2022.
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