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7 Simple Out-Of-OfficeTips

December 24, 2014 / Peter Eisengrein

With the holidays upon us, here are seven simple things that will help you enjoy the holidays while keeping a professional image with your customers and business contacts.

1. Set your email out of office. Most business email applications these days allow you to set your out of office auto-response. Use it. Let your contacts know that you’re out, when you’ll be back, and when they can expect a response. Additionally, include contact info of whom they should contact in your absence if it is an urgent matter that requires a more immediate response. It’s ok to include a short personal note of Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, etc, but leave it at that; unless your business contacts are of similar religious beliefs, stay away from deeply religious sentiments.

2. Do the same with your voicemail. This may be more relevant if you are a heavy voicemail user. If you are in sales or you get more than one voicemail per day, it is probably worth doing.

3. Turn off your call forwarding. If your phone system has a find-me-follow-me (we call it “Anywhere”), simultaneous ringing (to your cell or home), or call forwarding feature, such as call forward no answer, turn it off. Unless your job requires you to be reachable 24x7x365 you – and your family – will be grateful for the break and you’ll come back to the office recharged and ready to go.

4. Be sure your boss can still reach you, if necessary. Not all jobs require this, but since you’ve just turned off your call forwarding, make sure those that might need know how they can reach you, in case of an urgent situation.

5. Forward your main line, auto attendant, hunt group, or call center, if appropriate. You’re closed but your customers may not be. If they call make sure they don’t just get ringing. Direct them to a voicemail box, a closed message, or an answering service. Make sure the messaging is professional and covers the basics (see step #1). Once set, make a quick test call to make sure it is working as you expect. If you can set the forwarding using a time schedule do it so you don’t forget. And so you’re not left wondering why the phone isn’t ringing when you get back.

6. Enjoy your break. Try hard to not check your messages. If you’re like me, you have a Pavlovian need to check your smart phone every three seconds. Try, try, try not to do this. If you must, pick a quiet time once a day to check your messages.

7. Don’t forget to revert these changes when you return. Again, use scheduling features wherever possible, but if you make any manual changes it is important to undo those changes.

Here’s wishing you a Happy Holiday!

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