Out of Office started as a physical associate with a building. You were either in the building or out of it – hence the auto-response.
But now we are here, there, and everywhere and most of the time we are outside of the office.
Presence engines use “Not Connected”, “Offline”, “Unavailable” or “Away” to explain when someone cannot take an instant message or call and this is shown by a variety of colors of icons as to when and where they are, sometimes with little notes attached.
We’ve placed the focus on “alerting” people that we are out of the office when what we want more than anything, is to talk to someone that can help us with our problem or inquiry and/or get it into the queue for when they return.
So when I come back to the office, I’m not sifting through the old piles of mail on my desk that might have piled up years before.