If you’re a home office worker, a road warrior, a teleworker, a virtual officer or just a workationing mom or dad who’s hitting the highway but expecting to take a little work in tow, how will you help those trying to reach you to actually reach you. A voicemail I received today helped highlight that question. It also revealed that with email, texts, pins, BBMs, Facebook, tweets, IM, LinkedIn messages, some people still rely on vmail. And as antiquated as we may believe it to be, we still must serve those people’s needs.
In the message, the person left her query. She also commented that my outbound greeting referenced Cinco de Mayo. A greeting a month old, eh? Goes to show how little attention many of us pay to our vmail greetings.
This got me to thinking, though… Assuming people actually listen to greetings, what should we say or request of those trying to reach us? What about for teleworkers, road warriors and even workationing entrepreneurs?
I once espoused changing greetings weekly – so seemingly timely and attentive that would make us appear. I got over that once it got sufficiently old and burdensome that I forgot to update the greeting (see Cinco de Mayo reference above).
Yet the question rises anew as I prepare for a three-week excursion on Home Office Highway.
Do I say I’ll be on the road? Do I give contact details for myself, or contact info for others in my stead? Since I’ll be working a bit, do I forward calls to my mobile?
What about other forms of contact…? Do I actually use my Gmail Vacation Responder? Do I suggest texts, pins, BBMs, Facebook, tweets, IM, LinkedIn messages, and the like?
Some things I’ve decided…
No forwarding of calls (few are that important). Also, no change in my vmail greeting, except to reiterate that they can reach me by email. Which means…
No Vacation Responder. Since my BlackBerry will be by my side, I can respond immediately to any outreach – except maybe when I’m hiking the depths of the Grand Canyon (do they have cell antennas down there?). With a Verizon 4G Mifi Mobile Hotspot, I’ll also be logging on frequently. This isn’t a workation, per se, but I’m an email addict who’ll have ample free time to burn as the family slumbers in the early AM.
As far as social media-as-contact-mode-of-choice, I’ll say it here: I hate social media-as-contact-mode-of-choice. I don’t live on social media. I generally try to observe a self-imposed 9am-to-5pm embargo of Facebook, Twitter and the like. Besides, if my preferred contact medium is email, social media doesn’t fall neatly or congruously into an easily searchable or traceable email thread of existence. If you seek efficiency in communications, the all forms of communications should meet the mandate.
The net takeaway from this mental exercise has been to discover that nothing will change: With smart phones in our pockets and mobile Internet nearly ubiquitous, Standard Operating Procedures will remain in effect – unless the Grand Canyon is a wireless dead zone.
Then all bets are off.