Out of Office Assistant

Out of Office Assistant is a feature in Outlook made available when using Exchange. It can perform management of e-mail and auto-responses whilst you are away.

There are undoubted benefits of such a facility, yet also disadvantages that need to be understood before deciding whether to implement the facility.

The main things to consider are:

  • The Out of Office assistant will send a response to every sender that tries to send you a mail in your absence. Exchange tries to determine whether the message has come from a distribution list or is spam, but is not always successful. It is worth noting that some distribution lists do not tolerate the use of Out of Office responses.
  • There has been a lot of discussion in the media recently with regards to security of Out Of Office responses. Letting an unsolicited sender know that you are on holiday and what dates you are away is inadvisable.
  • Consider impacts on Freedom of Information requests. Advice regarding FOI can be found on the FOI Website

To Configure Out of Office Assistant:

Outlook 2010:

Click File - Automatic Replies

Remember to set both 'Inside My Organization' and 'Outside My Organization'.

Outlook 2007:

Click Tools - Out of Office Assistant

OWA 2010:

Select Options - Set Automatic Replies

Remember to turn off the Out of Office Assistant on your return.

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