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Is Auto-Reply a Good Idea?

Is it a good idea to send an auto-reply email broadcasting that you are away with no access to email for a defined period of time?

It is — if you work in an office and you include in the email the name of someone else to contact.

Otherwise, think twice before doing it.

Why?

1) If you work from home or don’t work at all, do you want anyone and/or everyone who emails you to know you are away? Might that make your “empty” home more vulnerable? Your close friends will know you are away. No one else needs to know.

2) Will you really have no access to email? You — or someone you are with on vacation — will likely have a smartphone you can use to check your email. You can choose not to respond to an incoming email immediately, but of course you have that option anytime.

3) Consider your friends and their volume of incoming mail. Perhaps a friend wishes to email you something you’ll need at a later date. Does this friend need an auto-reply email stating what he/she already knows?

Only in specific cases is an auto-reply email a courtesy; more often it is just another email to be deleted.