As I’m writing this, I’m technically on vacation. I realized today that I had forgotten to put my out of office on in Outlook. As I was putting it on, I remembered the In Office auto-reply that a former manager used to put on every Friday.
“I am currently IN the office. Welcome to Face to Face Fridays. As part of my commitment to developing stronger relationships I will be returning your email with a face to face visit.”
I remember the first time that I saw this, I didn’t even read the body, only that it was an auto-response and expected to get an answer on the following Monday. A few minutes later, the manager was sitting at my desk having a conversation with me around the email that I had sent. The more and more I thought about it though, the more that I realized that it was a great idea. I’ve realized this even more over the last year since taking on this role. There are people that I talk to via email every week, in my building, and only a floor below mine that I’ve never actually met face to face.
For the people that I know, it’s fairly normal that when we send someone an email, that we walk over to the persons desk to have a conversation, or open a bridge if the person is in a different part of the city/country, unless an email is needed for compliance, etc. But, other people that I don’t actually know, it remains as just email.
As the amount of email that I receive now is at a bearable amount, I’m thinking about trying this out for myself. Probably starting out with one Friday a month, but, we’ll see. Should be interesting.
Do you have any experience with this in a non-management role? If so, let me know how it went, good or bad.