We were checking out the keywords people regularly search for on Novell.com (using our site search as well as Google), and spotted a recurring desire to know how to set a vacation rule. This is no great surprise. We all love to take vacations, and particularly love to let our co-workers know that we are taking them. This is one of life's simple pleasures. And to make it even more pleasurable, GroupWise 2012 has vastly streamlined the way you set it all up.
Rule creation in general can be a fairly complex undertaking. And in earlier versions of GroupWise, you had to roll up your sleeves and figure out a bit of if/then logic to set it all up. Not hard, just a little complicated. This older Vacation Rule article, written in 2004, shows just how complicated it was (and still is, for those of you still using GroupWise 6,7, and 8). Look at the comments at the bottom of the article to see all the little twists and variations people used on their own vacation rules. Very fun, in a Sudoku kind of way.
Anyway, we thought it was high time to write about how to do it in GroupWise 2012. It's almost too easy to need an article, but for those of you who might find it useful, here goes.
Windows, Mac and Linux
- Click Tools > Vacation Rule.
- Tick the "Activate my vacation rule" checkbox. If you don't do that, none of the rest of this matters. (Seriously, this is the biggest gotcha in the whole process.)
- Write a Subject line. Something like "Away from office" is a bit more professional than "Scuba Diving in the Bahamas" - but do what you want here.
- Security Tip: We have heard of people's homes being robbed because bad guys learned from their Out of Office messages precisely what days they were going to be away from home, and where they were going to be. So it's safer not to get too specific here. (Same goes for Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- Write a Message. Just state that you'll be away, and offer helpful suggestions about which of your co-workers might be able to take up the slack in your absence. (It's always nice to double-check with them before you throw more work their way.)
- Security Tip: If your paranoia has been aroused, just say you're away from the office. Which could be read to mean you're hanging around at home with your shotgun waiting for bad guys. This takes some of the brag value out of going on vacation, but on the other hand, your flat-screen TV will still be there when you get home.
- Tick the checkbox called "Reply to External Users" if you want to show this reply to people outside your company.
- Set the Start Date and End Date using the handy calendar selector.
- Click Save.
When you get back from vacation, there's no need to turn off your vacation rule. Because you told it the End Date (Step 6), GroupWise stops replying with your message once the vacation period has ended.
If you change your plans, or (shudder) get back from vacation early, you can manually turn off your vacation rule like this:
- Click Tools > Vacation Rule.
- Untick the "Activate my Vacation Rule" checkbox.
On the main WebAccess page, click the Options icon , then click Options.
- Click Rules.
- Select Vacation from the drop-down menu of the Type field, then click Create.
- Type a name in the Rule name field, such as Vacation Rule.
- Type a subject, such as: Away from the office.
- Type a message, such as:
I am out of the office from September 3-September 10. If you need assistance during this time, please contact the poor schmoe at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
- Click Save, verify that the rule has a check mark next to it indicating that it is enabled, then click Close.
NOTE: this is a bit clumsier to use than Windows, Mac and Linux. You have to turn this on when you leave, and turn it off when you return. There's no date range selector, so GroupWise will dutifully reply with your Out of Office message forever unless you turn it off.
Good to Know
Your vacation rule will automatically block out the days of your vacation on your calendar, so people will know they can't schedule you for meetings while you're away.
Also, GroupWise will keep track of everyone who has been sent your Out of Office message, and will only send it once per user. Just part of our quest to reduce spam in your mailbox.
If you have anything to add, please post a comment. Do you have any interesting horror stories about Vacation Rules gone awry in GroupWise or any other email program? We'd love to see them.