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Daimler's Solution For Annoying Out-of-office Email: Delete It

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the keep-your-away-messages-to-yourself dept.

Businesses 232

AmiMoJo writes Sure, you can set an out-of-office auto-reply to let others know they shouldn't email you, but that doesn't usually stop the messages; you may still have to handle those urgent-but-not-really requests while you're on vacation. That's not a problem if you work at Daimler, though. The German automaker recently installed software that not only auto-replies to email sent while staff is away, but deletes it outright.

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I'll check that immediately (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47694051)

Dear Daimler-Benz

I know it's after hours, but I would like to order 500 cars of the Model S as quickly as possible, color unimportant.
I'll pay double for speedy delivery.

Re:I'll check that immediately (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694137)

1) Daimler-Benz doesn't exist any more.
2) "Model S" isn't a model that was ever produced by Daimler-Benz or Daimler AG.
3) 500 cars isn't very many and would merely be a drop in the bucket compared to how much money Daimler AG has.
4) Daimler AG has more than one person working for them.
5) Sane people make money to live their lives, not the other way around.

Re:I'll check that immediately (2)

operagost (62405) | about 4 months ago | (#47694799)

500 cars isn't very many and would merely be a drop in the bucket compared to how much money Daimler AG has.

The OP was a clumsy attempt at humor, but I have issue with claiming that Daimler would be OK with allowing an $18-50 million sale go away.

Re:I'll check that immediately (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694855)

Which is covered by point #4.

Re: I'll check that immediately (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694813)

Just to be pedantic, the S-class is the high end of the MB lineup. The S500 is around 100,000 USD, with the AMG being proportionately more expensive. There is also the SLK which is more affordable.

Re:I'll check that immediately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694151)

... and if I don't hear from you soon enough I will buy Ford cars instead.

Re:I'll check that immediately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694949)

Why would you do that?

Re:I'll check that immediately (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47694273)

I think the point is to not have work pile up while on vacation. I do not think people use "out of office" for after work hours.

Re:I'll check that immediately (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694357)

I think the point is to not have work pile up while on vacation. I do not think people use "out of office" for after work hours.

Some of the people I work with use "out of office" for weekends. It's a passive-aggressive way of fighting back against the corporate expectation that everybody will login for email 24/7 (an expectation that got worse as corporate-issued mobile email devices got pushed further down the ladder).

In France (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 4 months ago | (#47695079)

In France it is illegal to have staff answer mail out of office hours. How's that for mandatory free time?

Re:I'll check that immediately (1)

smitty97 (995791) | about 4 months ago | (#47694657)

So you're buying a fleet of Teslas?

Re:I'll check that immediately (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694789)

1. You'll not send a mail like that to single person but to a mailbox for the sales department.
2. if you can't wait you can buy Toyota instead, if you want a star you'll wait on the star.

It's not annoying (5, Insightful)

mwfischer (1919758) | about 4 months ago | (#47694053)

Out Of Office = "I'm not going to get a timely reply"

Re:It's not annoying (1)

thieh (3654731) | about 4 months ago | (#47694191)

"I'm not going to reply promptly" != "I will not be able to reply. Ever."

Re:It's not annoying (5, Informative)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#47694335)

Proper out of office messages will also give you the name and number or e-mail address of the person to contact if this is an urgent matter. So for a routine issue, you'll know that you at least have to wait X days until the person returns. For an urgent issue, you can expedite matters with one more contact.

I can't see Daimler's solution being used anywhere to good effect.

Re:It's not annoying (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47694725)

So for a routine issue, you'll know that you at least have to wait X days until the person returns.

Problem is that it's more like X days + however long it takes that person to do all the other tasks that have built up while they were away.

Daimler are just moving the work from the person on holiday to the people sending them emails. Instead of that person having to sort all their email when they get back, the people sending the email sort it for them while they are away. Anything that can be passed on to others is, anything that has to wait gets re-sent if it is really that important.

No-one likes to come back to an inbox full of crap after a holiday, and it probably doesn't help Daimler either. Many of those messages will be pointless and get deleted instantly anyway. The person will waste lots of time chasing other people to see if they handled things.

Because MS Outlook and Exchange Server.... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | about 4 months ago | (#47694073)

...aren't already capable of doing this ?

Whose nephew just got money for college ?

Re:Because MS Outlook and Exchange Server.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694415)

...aren't already capable of doing this ?

Whose nephew just got money for college ?

There's a difference between an optional feature and a genuinely-enforced corporate mandate.

Aren't you tired of companies that beat the "work-life balance" drum and then let local management get pissy when you actually want to take a vacation? The extra software they installed means that site management can't twist folks arms until they "volunteer" to read all emails received while they were on vacation. For once a company put its money where it's mouth for work-life balance.

Defeats the purpose (5, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 months ago | (#47694075)

Email's strength is that it is asynchronous. I send CC emails to people that I know are not available because I want them to read it when they get back, so they aren't totally clueless as to what happened while they were out scuba diving or whatever.

Re:Defeats the purpose (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694177)

The problem with this is that email tends to get massively backed up when people like you think that you can do that. You end up sending one, two, three or more while they are away...and so does everyone else because you think they can just "handle it" when they get back.

Have some respect. You can wait until the person returns to work to send them messages.

Re:Defeats the purpose (4, Insightful)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 4 months ago | (#47694317)

Have some respect. You can wait until the person returns to work to send them messages.

My world should not stop because you chose to get off. And waiting until the person gets back is far worse - they are going to be flooded by all the emails which nobody sent while they were out. Far better to be able to triage what came in while you were away at your own pace.

Re:Defeats the purpose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694505)

Sorry, but no. You are trying to pawn your responsibilities off on someone else and since you are the one making the request/initiating contact, it is your responsibility. Also, by the time that person returns, some or all of the email that was sent may not even be relevant any more and they should not have to waste time sorting through all of the spam you sent their way.

Stop trying to make others do your job for you.

Re:Defeats the purpose (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 months ago | (#47694939)

You know... One could also make similar claims about a voice inbox, an answering machine, or even receptionists who will take a message for people while they are out of the office.

Re:Defeats the purpose (4, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 months ago | (#47694379)

They aren't things I expect them to handle when they get back. It's more along the lines of "X broke while you were gone. We did Y to fix it. Here's the status on Y." Otherwise, they're going to encounter Y a month from now and go "wtf is this Y thing?" and we'll have to explain that Y happened while they were skiing in the Swiss Alps but we didn't bother CCing them on the plans for it.

Re: Defeats the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694501)

You should probably check out something like BugZilla to track such events. Just saying.

Re:Defeats the purpose (2)

frinkster (149158) | about 4 months ago | (#47694545)

They aren't things I expect them to handle when they get back. It's more along the lines of "X broke while you were gone. We did Y to fix it. Here's the status on Y." Otherwise, they're going to encounter Y a month from now and go "wtf is this Y thing?" and we'll have to explain that Y happened while they were skiing in the Swiss Alps but we didn't bother CCing them on the plans for it.

You're doing it wrong, for exactly the reason you are sending CCs to people that are out of the office. By the way, what happens if you hire a new person, or an existing employee starts working on your team? Does someone on the team need to go back and re-send all those emails that document the product you are working on? Because maybe they need to know this kind of stuff - if someone that is on vacation needs to know what you did in the past, new team members do too. Have you been organizing your emails over the years? How long will it take you to get that stuff sent out - how much of your current work will be delayed while you accomplish this extremely important task?

Re:Defeats the purpose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694389)

...you think they can just "handle it" when they get back.

If people are breaking down because they don't know how to delete redundant e-mails when they return from a vacation, no amount of automation is going to help. Such people need to get a job that doesn't involve e-mail or people who think their problems are important. Good luck with that.

Re:Defeats the purpose (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694601)

Then you can get the blame for the time lost when that person has to read through every single email that they received while they were gone and then try to figure out which are still valid. You'd get canned by any halfway decent manager for doing a half-arsed job and wasting company money.

Re:Defeats the purpose (2)

dasunt (249686) | about 4 months ago | (#47694179)

Email's strength is that it is asynchronous.

That's the theory. In practice, people seem to treat it like instant messaging.

Re:Defeats the purpose (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 4 months ago | (#47694859)

Email's strength is that it is asynchronous.

That's the theory. In practice, people seem to treat it like instant messaging.

In my company, we have e-mails going out to customers with attachments that they use in order to post balances to medical claims. Because it is e-mail, the delivery is not guaranteed. Yet if they don't get one, it screws them all up. We have had to jump through fiery hoops checking the server logs and everything else to prove that it got out of the office, yet I keep saying that e-mail is not a guaranteed delivery mechanism. Just because it happens to be very reliable does not mean that it is 100% reliable. I can't seem to convince them to take delivery of these files by something geared for file transfer, like say File Transfer Protocol or something.

Re:Defeats the purpose (5, Interesting)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#47694209)

I used to do something similar as the author. My out of office was something to the effect of

"I will be out of the office from XX to XX. During this time, John will be my point of contact and he can be reached at john@email.com.

If you prefer to wait until I return to work, please send me a follow up email so I know your request still needs attention."

That said, I still went through all my emails when I came back. This system just helped me prioritize.

Re:Defeats the purpose (2)

nine-times (778537) | about 4 months ago | (#47694211)

Yes, I agree completely. I do kind of hate coming back from vacation to a huge inbox, but on the other hand, I do things like emailing someone saying, "I know you're on vacation and I don't want you to do anything now, but I know I'll forget if I don't send this now. When you get back..."

Re:Defeats the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694373)

Then you set a calendar reminder for yourself, you don't try to put the ball into the other person's court while they are away in an attempt to instantly absolve yourself of the responsibility.

Re:Defeats the purpose (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about 4 months ago | (#47694885)

How does one know when a person on vacation will be back? Is it my responsibility to keep track of when everyone I have dealings with will be in or out of the office? That sounds like a full time job in itself. Perhaps e-mails to a person who is out of the office should be autoforwarded to the person's boss.

Re:Defeats the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695017)

Because the auto-responder will tell you when they are expected to return.

Re:Defeats the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694453)

"I know you're on vacation and I don't want you to do anything now, but I know I'll forget if I don't send this now. When you get back..."

Unfortunately, that much verbosity overwhelmes my desire to be polite. I think we need an acronymn. Since IKYOVAIDWYTDANBIKIFIIDSTNWYGB is a bit too long, I propose "for when you return, ...", or FWYR,

Re:Defeats the purpose (1)

frinkster (149158) | about 4 months ago | (#47694701)

Yes, I agree completely. I do kind of hate coming back from vacation to a huge inbox, but on the other hand, I do things like emailing someone saying, "I know you're on vacation and I don't want you to do anything now, but I know I'll forget if I don't send this now. When you get back..."

If you are using Outlook/Exchange, you can simply schedule a delivery date/time for the email. It's one of the not-too-hard-to-find buttons on the "Options" ribbon called "Delay Delivery". It's actually less work than typing "I know you're on vacation and I don't want you to do anything now, but I know I'll forget if I don't send this now. When you get back..."

Defeats the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694265)

In your case (I think it's a more sensible case) the emails should be held in a separate queue and only delivered when the person is back. This way won't feel they need to check their email while away, since they can't anyway.

Re:Defeats the purpose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694361)

Email's strength is that it is asynchronous. I send CC emails to people that I know are not available because I want them to read it when they get back, so they aren't totally clueless as to what happened while they were out scuba diving or whatever.

And when vendors like Facebook attempt to seamlessly integrate email into a "chat" conversation, the impatience of people increases as they expect the response time to drop to the level of text messaging.

Ah, the joys of backscatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694087)

Don't autoreply to email. Spammers forge From addresses. If you're not going to accept email, reject it straight away on the first SMTP server. Don't accept it first.

Re:Ah, the joys of backscatter (2)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#47694237)

Then your customers assume that they have the wrong email address

Re:Ah, the joys of backscatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694727)

You can include a message with the response code (e.g. rejection for policy reasons: 550 Daimler employees don't receive email while they're on holiday). Now mod this down too. Wasn't there a story about email dying lately? Fullquotes at the bottom of email are normal now and speaking out against autoreplies gets you downmodded. If email isn't dead, why is everybody digging a hole for it?

Why not just ignore it until you get back? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694099)

I let physical mail pile up and then deal with it when I get back. Ditto electronic mail. Just tell people when you'll be away and that you won't be checking during that time. The only people who get annoyed by this tend to be the sort of people who deserve to be irritated anyhow.

And unlike physical mail you don't have to worry about the accumulation tipping off burglars.

Re:Why not just ignore it until you get back? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694161)

"I let physical mail pile up and then deal with it when I get back."

Exactly! Everybody did that the last couple of thousand years.

"The only people who get annoyed by this tend to be the sort of people who deserve to be irritated anyhow."

I don't reply to those even after I'm back, or if I have to, I'll do it very late.

Re:Why not just ignore it until you get back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694205)

That sounds like a very hectic American rat-race way of handling it. In civilised countries we value OUR time more than that.

Re:Why not just ignore it until you get back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694285)

This sounds like the typical lazy European attitude

Re:Why not just ignore it until you get back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694433)

If enjoying life is lazy, then I am guilty as charged. Have fun with your long hours, high stress levels, heart attacks, early death and missing out on your life and experiences.

Re:Why not just ignore it until you get back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694329)

Sounds like a typical racist appeal to someone doing something differently than you do.

Re: Why not just ignore it until you get back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694417)

Where does race enter into it?

Re:Why not just ignore it until you get back? (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 4 months ago | (#47694307)

Additionally, what about the times when you forget to turn off your out of office? Heck, I usually forget to update my work phone voicemail for at least a month (or until someone else notices.)

Re:Why not just ignore it until you get back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695221)

Additionally, what about the times when you forget to turn off your out of office?

Up to date versions of MS-Outlook/Exchange allow you to set a date/time range so it will turn off automatically (also to send different out of office messages for internal/external senders).
Obviously no use if you don't know when you'll be back (e.g. sick) but useful for planned vacations.

Physical mail vs. email (1)

dskoll (99328) | about 4 months ago | (#47694459)

Physical mail costs money to send, so you are unlikely to come back from vacation to a pile of 2,000 letters. Email costs virtually nothing to send, so it piles up far more quickly than physical mail.

Also, people who send physical mail tend not to Cc: 25+ recipients just because they can, and there's no physical equivalent of the hellish "Reply to All" button.

"they shouldn't email you?" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694107)

I've never interpreted these auto-replies to mean that I shouldn't send mail to that address. I thought they're just courtesy replies from a robot explaining that it'll be a long time before anyone reads it.

Deleting the email seems like a bad idea. That'll keep the recipient from being able to read it when they return.

And WTF does this have to do with overtime?

Re:"they shouldn't email you?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694187)

I really wouldn't want E-mail deleted while I'm out of office. Just the fact that I would have to ask everyone who E-mailed me to resend.

Daimler can do it because people (namely USA-ians who buy them just for the name) want their cars. However, if you have any other business type than catering to people's whims and status symbols, customers can easily go elsewhere.

Good PR for Daimler... only would damage other companies whose income isn't about their brand name.

Re:"they shouldn't email you?" (1)

Golden_Rider (137548) | about 4 months ago | (#47694687)

I really wouldn't want E-mail deleted while I'm out of office. Just the fact that I would have to ask everyone who E-mailed me to resend.

The expectation is that the sender reads the automatic reply, which says something like "X is on vacation and cannot be reached, so your mail will be deleted. If it was about something important, please mail Y". So you should not have to ask people to resend the mail, because they either wait for you to come back, or send a mail to your colleagues who are not on vacation (and if it is was something private like "want to go see a movie tonight?", people surely know your private email/phone number, too).

Re:"they shouldn't email you?" (2)

mlk (18543) | about 4 months ago | (#47694207)

> And WTF does this have to do with overtime?

Many people foolishly think that as they can check their work email while on holiday, they should check their work email while on holiday. By doing so they are doing unpaid overtime (an evil evil thing).

Re:"they shouldn't email you?" (3, Interesting)

Golden_Rider (137548) | about 4 months ago | (#47694645)

I've never interpreted these auto-replies to mean that I shouldn't send mail to that address. I thought they're just courtesy replies from a robot explaining that it'll be a long time before anyone reads it.

Deleting the email seems like a bad idea. That'll keep the recipient from being able to read it when they return.

And WTF does this have to do with overtime?

In theory you could just let the emails sit there until you are back at work, but in practice sadly it is often expected that you check your email inbox every now and then. Employees often feel that they can't say "no" to the expectation that they have to be available via email even while at home off work hours. To protect employees (because vacations and off work time are to be protected, for health reasons), there are discussions in Europe about introducing new regulations which would make any such "off work work" paid overtime, by law - effectively making it financially interesting for companies to prevent emails from reaching their employees when they are off work. This Daimler story is just one example of that.

Re:"they shouldn't email you?" (4, Interesting)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 4 months ago | (#47694933)

Employees often feel that they can't say "no" to the expectation that they have to be available via email even while at home off work hours.

People just need to make it clearer that you will be unreachable. My managers stopped when they insisted that they needed a way to get a hold of me in case of emergency since I would be well out of cellphone range. My response was a trained tracker and a team of search dogs. I told him about where I was going to be leaving my car and said to start searching there as I would be somewhere up in the north woods of Minnesota.

Funny thing about email (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694129)

You don't have to check it while you are on vacation. You can actually ignore it.

So why delete what could be important communication? Just deal with it when you are back in the office.

Re:Funny thing about email (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694257)

If it's that important, then send your email to the alternate contact listed in the "out of office - this message will self destruct" auto-reply. While they are on vacation, it is up to You to remember to send it again when they get back; we use google apps at work, and I do the same thing with filters. I send a canned response with who to contact, and delete everything immediately.

Re:Funny thing about email (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694371)

While they are on vacation, it is up to You to remember to send it again when they get back

But why? This defeats some of the virtues of how email works. It's quite possible to just let it sit in the inbox until you return, much like mail. Asynchronous messaging systems (like email and mail) allow the sender to send it when it's convenient for them, and the recipient to read it at their convenience. Systems like this auto-delete destroy that.

Re:Funny thing about email (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694695)

Email 1: Hello John, I know you are on holiday but I need you to take a look at the file for customer X when you return.
Email 2: Hello John, I know you are still on holiday, but I also need you to take a look at the file for customer Y when you return.
Email 3: Hello John, I know you are still on holiday, but I also need you to take a look at the file for customer Z when you return.
Email 4: Hello John, I know you are still on holiday, but I wanted you to know you can disregard the file for customer Y.
*John returns to the office, reads all of his email and goes through the files for customers X and Z*
Email 5: Hello John, you can also disregard the file on customer X.

As opposed to simply waiting until John returns to send a single email asking him to look at customer Z's file solely.

Re:Funny thing about email (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694597)

Important does not mean it's urgent. I often send a mail with a request with a couple of weeks deadline. If I send emails during someone's vacation then I send them because I don't want to forget to send them while they are back.
If it's urgent I will use the provided substitute email. Often it isn't

Don't delete that email automatically if you EVER want a request for a quotation from me ever again. There are only a few reasons I stop requesting quotes from a company. If I noticed that they removed mails as default vacation response that would be a good reason.

Re:Funny thing about email (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694839)

Ever hear of a calendar? Your faulty memory should not be a burden to others.

Re:Funny thing about email (4, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47694471)

"You don't have to check it while you are on vacation. You can actually ignore it."

You don't _have_ to, but you can.

This is Europe.
There _is_ no unpaid overtime!
If people check their mail during vacation, they are working, and they have to be paid and their vacation is still due an they can sue the company when they leave (or not) to get payment for the missed holidays or weekends.
Same thing if you get sick or injured during a holiday, the days don't count as holiday but as sick days, even if you stay there at the beach bar with a cast for 4 or 5 weeks. (although you can't drink alcohol, since this can hinder a speedy recovery)
The vacation days are still due.

Also, people with a security/dangerous job have to be alert and cannot have worked _anything_ 8 hours before the shift, if case of an accident or other misfortune, the company would be liable.

"So why delete what could be important communication? Just deal with it when you are back in the office."

If it's really important, the vacation guy is replaced during his absence and the replacement handles the email.
If that's not the case, it's not an important job, even if the tenant thinks it is.

Re:Funny thing about email (2)

Ubi_NL (313657) | about 4 months ago | (#47694791)

I'm not sure in what parallel universe you live, but in my part of europe there sure is overtime, and we are surely not getting paid for it. It's even explicit in the contracts that we do not get paid for overtime.

Re:Funny thing about email (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#47694883)

"I'm not sure in what parallel universe you live, but in my part of europe there sure is overtime, and we are surely not getting paid for it. It's even explicit in the contracts that we do not get paid for overtime."

That clause means there is no overtime, go home instead of trying to make the manager have a good opinion about you.
There is no other possible interpretation, since all those have been declared illegal by the European Court.

Unpaid labor is called 'slavery'.

Re:Funny thing about email (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694841)

If it's really important, the vacation guy is replaced during his absence and the replacement handles the email.

If that's not the case, it's not an important job, even if the tenant thinks it is.

I wanted to reply something similar, but to be honest the thought never occurred to me. Instead, it was more along the lines of "well, they have to delete the emails because otherwise the employee will be blamed that important emails went unanswered during their vacation" as unfair as I realize that is. In the US I think there's such a fear of downsizing and being replaced that "the replacement handles the email" would also be the guy who never takes vacations precisely because it's the only way they have an edge over everyone else.

This is the race to the bottom of the US and why many European countries having mandatory vacations, including as you mention all the stringent rules about overtime, is a good thing.

Re:Funny thing about email (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 4 months ago | (#47695111)

This is Europe.
There _is_ no unpaid overtime!

I've worked for UK, Spanish and German companies and and sure there is, it's done all the time. Often when you work longer hours in the day and do the odd bit of work at the weekend.

If people check their mail during vacation, they are working, and they have to be paid and their vacation is still due an they can sue the company when they leave (or not) to get payment for the missed holidays or weekends.

IANAL but I believe that only counts if they specifically ask you to check your email. If they don't and you go ahead anyway, then you won't get paid for it.

I always leave my blackberry at home when I go on holiday.

Re:Funny thing about email (3, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 4 months ago | (#47695227)

Then the solution is to lock employees out of email when they're on vacation, not delete what could be an important communication.

This isn't about technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694175)

Technology isn't the issue here - obviously you don't need special software to auto-delete emails.

The real issue is that Daimler is allowing its employees to do this without fear of reprisals from management.

Re:This isn't about technology (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#47694579)

Technology isn't the issue here - obviously you don't need special software to auto-delete emails.

The real issue is that Daimler is allowing its employees to do this without fear of reprisals from management.

Yeah. That'll last until the first upper manager misses an important email because he forgot to reset the out of office flag.

Out of office notifications don't scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694215)

Lots of email these days are sent to mailing lists with dozens, sometimes hundreds, of recipients, so the sender can expect out of office replies from co-workers s/he's never met. They may live on a different continent. Email is also routinely sent as notifications by application servers, again to large mailing lists, so it must be the poor postmaster that has to wade through all the nuisance out of office replies.

At IBM (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 4 months ago | (#47694251)

There are people who are either NEVER out of office or ALWAYS out of office. But there's a hard and fast rule you never respond or reply either way.

They are clueless... (4, Interesting)

benignbala (1157427) | about 4 months ago | (#47694255)

about what Out-Of-Office responses are meant for. The primary reason you have them is :
You *want* to convey something to a bunch of people and you expect some response. The Out-Of-Office just says don't expect a response from that person. But that person is still expected to read the emails.

Also, there are numerous occasions where people have been assigned tasks that need to be handled later, but the assignment was done when they are out-of-office. My own manager comes in at 8:00 am, while the official work hours start at 9:00 am. So, I get mails just within an hour before the out-of-office period ends. I definitely don't want those emails deleted.

Re:They are clueless... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 4 months ago | (#47694457)

Perfect timing. I just sent a cow-orker some email and got an OOO message. I understand that she's not here and won't deal with it until she gets back. But it's still important email, and she needs to know about it when she does return.

Re:They are clueless... (1)

leonardluen (211265) | about 4 months ago | (#47694465)

Why not have the auto-reply end at the end of your normal business hours the previous work day? typically no one is expecting you to work then anyway and then on Monday morning before 9am they aren't still getting the auto-replies.

Re:They are clueless... (1)

benignbala (1157427) | about 4 months ago | (#47694861)

Agree with you if the offices are geographically co-located. But otherwise, it is necessary, mostly because there are people working in time zones that are ahead of ours and occasionally forget the exact time difference(The DST is adding to all the time zone confusions) The general suggestion in my office is that they still get the auto-reply until the time we are back in office after a vacation, lest the sender thinks that their mails are being ignored :).

Re:They are clueless... (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 4 months ago | (#47695087)

Why not have the auto-reply end at the end of your normal business hours the previous work day? typically no one is expecting you to work then anyway and then on Monday morning before 9am they aren't still getting the auto-replies.

You can. Nothing is preventing you from doing that.

"Regular users" don't grasp the post-office model. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694275)

This sort of measure is needed because regular users, and in particular middle-managers, neither understand nor care to understand the "post office model" of email, and aren't interested in discussions about it's correct vs incorrect use.

As someone who considers things like the lunch hour, vacation time, time spent out to dinner with family, etc as sacrosanct - I wish my own employer would adopt this sort of policy.

Well that will work well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694297)

If I send someone some important information they want to know and I get back an email saying "I'm on vacaction so I deleted your email" my response will not be very positive. And neither will yours when six weeks later you find you are missing some essential information that was provided to you...

Daimler (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#47694315)

This is the German one, right? Not the different badge on a Jaguar,

How much did they pay for this "software"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694321)

If your email client allows you to make an out of office rule, you can make a delete-all-new-emails rule just as easily. I really need to start a company that takes a single feature from existing software and sells it as a stand-alone package...

Urgent Benz email (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#47694343)

From Lewis Hamilton
To Ross Brawn

Tell Nico to move over, I 'm doing faster lap times.

Nuke it (1)

FreeUser (11483) | about 4 months ago | (#47694347)

Nuke the server from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Not a bad strategy (2)

dskoll (99328) | about 4 months ago | (#47694349)

I did this once and it worked really well. However, in order for it to work, you need a couple of things:

1) The auto-reply needs to be very clear that the original message was discarded and will never be read.

2) The auto-reply must contain contact information of a person who can help out with urgent matters.

It was so relaxing to come back from vacation and not have to face an inbox with 1000 messages...

Re:Not a bad strategy (4, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 months ago | (#47694775)

It won't work. You also need one more thing: a sender that pays attention to the out of office message. When I see an email which has a subject line that says "Out of office", I don't bother reading it. I just delete it. Obviously the recipient got the email; they just won't respond right away.

Re:Not a bad strategy (4, Insightful)

dskoll (99328) | about 4 months ago | (#47695009)

If a sender does not pay attention to my message, then why should I pay attention to the sender's message?

If I send something important and then soon afterwards get an out-of-office reply, I certainly read it.

It's OPTIONAL! (4, Informative)

Scutter (18425) | about 4 months ago | (#47694419)

FTFA: issues a reply to the sender that the person is out of the office and that the email will be deleted, while also offering the contact information of another employee for pressing matters.

and

the program — which is optional — has gone down well with the company’s German employees

Seriously, the idea is that you get to actually take a vacation and let someone else handle the load while you're away. That way, you're not coming back to work with twice the workload as when you left. For many companies, if you take a vacation, no one covers you. The work just piles up. It makes it hard to relax knowing that you've got a mountain of work to return to. No one is taking away "Out of Office" messages or breaking them for people who want to use them.

I've seen several comments here saying "Well, I'm just CC'ing people who need to be kept in the loop!" Ok, I get that. If it's that important, why don't you just wait until they get back and give them a short briefing? If it's not that important, why did you bother sending it in the first place?

  I, for one, applaud the effort to push back against the anti-vacation, anti-personal time culture.

Re:It's OPTIONAL! (1)

Andtalath (1074376) | about 4 months ago | (#47694503)

The sane option is to give people the necessary time go through their email when they get back.

Re:It's OPTIONAL! (1)

Scutter (18425) | about 4 months ago | (#47694547)

The sane option is to give people the necessary time go through their email when they get back.

How is that solution any different than giving them the option to hand off their work to someone else while they're away? If you "give them the time..." then someone else still has to do their work while they sort through their vacation e-mail.

Re:It's OPTIONAL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694719)

I've seen several comments here saying "Well, I'm just CC'ing people who need to be kept in the loop!" Ok, I get that. If it's that important, why don't you just wait until they get back and give them a short briefing?

Time. I'm a busy person. The fact that you're back from vacation does not mean I have time to brief you, personally, on everything that happened while you were away. Allowing you to read your emails—you do have time set aside to read and respond to emails, right?—allows you to act within your normal scheduling framework, and provides the information to you in easily-digestible bites.

Re:It's OPTIONAL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695031)

I've seen several comments here saying "Well, I'm just CC'ing people who need to be kept in the loop!" Ok, I get that. If it's that important, why don't you just wait until they get back and give them a short briefing?

Time. I'm a busy person. The fact that you're back from vacation does not mean I have time to brief you, personally, on everything that happened while you were away. Allowing you to read your emails—you do have time set aside to read and respond to emails, right?—allows you to act within your normal scheduling framework, and provides the information to you in easily-digestible bites.

Use a Wiki or a SharePoint space and drop the emails altogether. It works quite well if the group is disciplined enough to use it instead of CC/BCC-ing the world with tons of information that while potentially useful, 95% of the recipients don't need or want.

And the best part is that you don't have to search through GBs of emails messages to piece it all together.

FWIW, quite whining about 2000 emails after vacation as that is a pittance. Try coming back from 15 days of vacation to 150,000 emails most of which are people doing reply all with inane responses like "Thanks"

Re:It's OPTIONAL! (2)

pavon (30274) | about 4 months ago | (#47694749)

I've seen several comments here saying "Well, I'm just CC'ing people who need to be kept in the loop!" Ok, I get that. If it's that important, why don't you just wait until they get back and give them a short briefing? If it's not that important, why did you bother sending it in the first place?

Becaused they asked me to CC them on such issues, and I don't feel like keeping a log of when everyone was gone and what happened that they might care about, so I can resend it when they get back. If it is something I care about I will talk to them when they get back. If it is something that they care about and know about then they can ask me. The problem is the stuff that they care about but don't know to ask about. Skimming an inbox full of CCs works well for that.

Re:It's OPTIONAL! (1)

Scutter (18425) | about 4 months ago | (#47694897)

If they asked you to CC them or if they're in a position where they're likely to need those CC's, then perhaps they'll opt not to use the optional system being discussed.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! (0)

redelm (54142) | about 4 months ago | (#47694483)

As Daimler AG is a German company, many employees will take a whole month off (July-August). Lots of big email (dwgs/photos) can arrive in a month. As a result of US auto-liability litigation, they probably have lawyers limiting the size of their email (&other files) to something the lawyers can digest, like 100 MB per user. Already nearly full, many accounts will lock. To save the fixup grief, just bounce everything. Problem solved.

Look folks -- nothing on the internet, least of all email, is intended to be reliable. That it often is, is no guarantee that it always is. If you don't remember to resend mail when the server is open, or your MTA doesn't follow RFCs then you have only your sloth to blame.

Fuck 'em. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47694699)

Why should I waste my time resending an email to someone that purposefully deleted it just because they can't set up their email to either forward it to someone that can deal with it, or simply deal with it when they return?

  I just don't get it, the worst case is they'll have a weeks worth of email to sort thru on their return. If they delete them all then they'll have an empty inbox on a Monday morning, but by lunchtime it'll be full of resends of from the previous week, so what's the gain except having an easy Monday morning and wasting a lot of other peoples time?

  Long story short, if someone did that to me I'd take my business elsewhere, I don't appreciate having my time wasted . Fuck 'em.

No catching up? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 4 months ago | (#47695067)

So people who go on vacation aren't allowed to catch up when they get back? How about this; if you really want people to not check emails while away, disable their remote access. Turn off ActiveSync for that user, and don't allow them to VPN in.

We don't allow OoO replies to external emails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47695069)

An Out of Office reply to externally sourced email is effectively a form of auto-responder.
This is a good way to end up on spam blacklists, particularly if you auto-quote the original email.

The spammer sends you an email with a forged from address of their chosen victim. You then auto-respond to them.

That's never going to happen in a US company (4, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | about 4 months ago | (#47695113)

The problem with implementing something like this in a US company is the staffing model. European companies tend to have more people doing similar jobs, so that one person actually can fill in for another. Most out of office messages say something like "I'm not here, please contact my manager XYZ for assistance." 9 times out of 10, there's no backup person who can actually provide an answer, simply because there's no backup staff that knows enough to solve a problem.

The other issue is that at least in IT, most places still allow individuals to knowledge-hoard. Often it's unintentional (see understaffing above) because there's simply no time to ensure someone else knows about what you do. But sometimes people do this in a misguided quest for job security. Also, a very small number of people do it to cover something up -- there stories out there about people who found loopholes in purchasing/accounting systems and used them to write checks to themselves or divert equipment...and only got caught when someone else started reviewing things they had been handling themselves.

In my opinion, a lot of the knowledge-hoarding would stop if people were able to trust their employers to keep them employed, or to at least treat them fairly if they had to be laid off. Sure, implementing worker-friendly policies would probably be expensive in the short run, but I can't tell you the number of times I've walked into a new job where the previous individual held all the tribal knowledge about a system or process. I think this policy is a very good one -- especially for employees who work a stressful job and have family commitments, etc. Being able to completely ignore everything during a vacation would be something many employees would stick around to keep. Personally, I have a very busy work schedule and 2 little kids at home. Between not sleeping normally and often having to use my downtime to finish extra work, I would _love_ to be able to say "here, this is your problem now" for 2 weeks. (I wouldn't even have to go anywhere...just put me somewhere to turn off my brain for a couple days.)

It'll never happen here though -- there are too many people who buy into the "job creators" meme and let their employers walk all over them...everyone who even suggests a worker-friendly policy is a lazy entitled socialist here.

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