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We’re writing OOO emails all wrong, says career expert: Here’s what to say to keep co-workers from messaging you

By | Aditi Shrikant |

Do your co-workers email you with timely requests even when you’re on vacation?

If so, you might be writing your out-of-office email wrong, says Brandon Smith, a therapist and career coach known as The Workplace Therapist. 

Generic messages like, “I’ll be OOO until [insert date] with limited access to email” can be easy to shrug off. 

“When I see that, I assume they are at home and took a day to clean their apartment,” Smith says. 

Instead, include a personal detail. This can set a stronger boundary and help you elicit more guilt from whoever dares cross it. 

‘You’re a jerk if you trample on that’

Getting personal doesn’t mean your message has to be long or even divulge private information. 

If you’re going on a family trip, Smith suggests the following format: 

“I’m going to be on a family vacation on [insert dates]. If you need immediate assistance please contact [information of colleague]” 

Reading that, someone has to decide that their query is more important than your time with your family. “You’re a jerk if you trample on that,” Smith says.

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