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The cloud makes it easier for people to go on vacation and travel around the world in a multitude of different ways. For instance, the fact that you can access your documents and must-have tools on the cloud means that you no longer need to worry about not having the option to update your documents on-the-go.
These days, you can stay connected to your coworkers wherever you are. You can even complete crucial work before you go and relax on the beach for a couple of hours when you're on your vacation. However, if you'd instead unplug completely when you're traveling, then Google's cloud-based productivity suite has you covered on that front too. As part of the Cloud Next event that took place in April 2019, Google's cloud team announced that it would be making a slew of important updates to the Gmail, Hangouts, and G-Suite features that teams rely on every day.
These updates are part of an overarching strategy to make Google a more appealing cloud productivity solution for enterprise companies. One of the most recent updates to appear in the G-suite environment at the beginning of September 2019, was the "Out of Office" or "OOC" option.
Introducing Out of Office G-Suite Features
Today, it's pretty common for people in a company to have to send every member of their team a quick email reminding them that they're going on vacation before they leave the office. Even if you tell everyone that you work with a million times that you're not going to be around, the chances are that someone will still try to contact you and get an out-of-office auto-responder message in return.
However, two of the major components of the G-Suite, Hangouts and Gmail, will soon be introducing a new "out of office" feature that will help to eliminate that occurrence - or at least keep it to a minimum. Google will now display your out of office reminders to your coworkers whenever they try to get in touch with you through the G-Suite when you're on vacation.
The only catch in taking advantage of this new feature is that you need to have all your scheduled absences and downtime listed on Google Calendar. However, if you rely on G-Suite to get your work done most days anyway, the chances are that you'll already manage the majority of your schedule through Google Calendar.
If your team members try to message you on Gmail when you're on vacation, they'll see a beige banner at the bottom of the compose screen that tells them how much time you're going to spend away from your desk. This banner pops up as soon as someone enters your email address so that they're less likely to waste their time with sending a message. The banner includes your full name and insight into when you're expected to return to work. The same notification also appears at the bottom of any direct messages that your team members try to send on Hangouts Chat.
Making the Most of G Suite Out of Office
The Google Out of Office feature works well with scheduling in Gmail, and the Google team has already published a recent blog post highlighting all the advantages of the new feature for both people on vacation and their coworkers. According to Google, with the latest launch, before people even hit send on their messages or emails, they'll get information about that person's out-of-office time visible across various places in G-Suite.
For the person on vacation, the feature allows for more uninterrupted time away, by improving the chances that your team will wait until you're back to send a message. For the person sending the emails and direct messages, the new notification means that they can avoid wasting their time with reaching out to the wrong person, and they can go and seek out the assistance that they need elsewhere. The out of office functionality will be switched on by default by the end of September for all G-Suite users.
If you don't want to have the out of office system set up in your G-Suite environment, then Google gives you the option to turn this feature off too. Just go into your G-Suite admin settings and click on the Calendar Settings. From there, you can enter Access Permissions, and deselect the "Show Calendar" option in other Google apps.