Going Beyond The Out-Of-Office Reply For Vacation

This morning, I tweeted a link to a BBC article talking about the approach Daimler has for "out of office" email while employees. They send out a reply to anyone emailing an employee on vacation/holiday like quite a few firms do, but the message adds a notice that might sound a bit extreme to some: the email you sent that employee will be deleted.

Given how often email is the wrapper around an interruption, the inbox full of them that greets most office workers when they get back from a vacation ends up basically just saving up all of those interruptions from time that's supposed to be restful.

What's telling is the comments in the article, however. Frank, from Glasgow talked about 2,500 emails greeting him after a couple of weeks off, but noted:

...after talking to the people who contacted me, about three quarters of them had already resolved their issues...

He spent 10 hours (a whole day, and then some matches with my own experience, and it's always a miserable day, right?) processing that email and 3/4 of it was a complete waste of time. Clearly, there's room for some reform in the business world's approach to this problem.

There are clearly some reasons why just summarily deleting them might not work for every person or every organization, but letting them pile up and forcing the person who just managed to relax a bit to tackle the pile as their first task back isn't working either.