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Handling absent employees’ email

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

When employees are out of the office, should you have them auto-forward their emails to either you or a co-worker?

It depends, says Alison Green, the expert behind the Ask a Manager website.

Some people may feel like it’s an intrusion of privacy, especially if they use the email account for personal reasons. Plus, someone will have to manage double the amount of email in the person’s absence. A better alternative is to ask the employee to set up an auto-reply that directs people to contact you or the co-worker.

However, it ultimately depends on the position and the type of emails the person receives. If we’re talking about urgent or critical information and you fear recipients of auto-reply messages won’t take the time to contact someone else, it may be necessary to have emails forwarded. Just make sure to offer the employee fair warning, and of course, never read personal messages.

—Adapted from “Managing: Should I Require Vaca­tioning Employees to Auto-Forward Their Emails to Me?,” Alison Green, www.bizjournals.com.

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