What you need to know

  • Out of office warnings are rolling out to G Suite users for Gmail and Hangouts Chat.
  • The warning will show up as a banner informing the sender that the recipient is out, and when they will return.
  • The new feature can be disabled in the Calendar settings if you wish not to share your status with others.

No one likes to come back from vacation to an inbox full of emails, just like I'm sure no one enjoys getting that auto-response email that someone you tried to contact is out of the office. Thankfully, Google is planning on introducing a new feature to save us from this very situation.

Starting August 29, Google has begun rolling out the new "Out of office" integration between Google Calendar, Gmail, and Hangouts Chat. Once it rolls out, a small beige banner will appear in Gmail or Hangouts Chat when you attempt to send a message to someone who is out of the office.

Along with stating the contact is out of the office, the banner at the bottom will also inform the sender when you are returning. This should give you the perfect opportunity to contact someone else or schedule your email for when they have returned. The feature is enabled by default, but it does rely on you to enter your out of office status into your calendar to work.

Hopefully, this should save a lot of us from walking in to find an overflowing inbox right after we get back from vacation. It will also cut down on the frustration of getting that auto-response email that the person is out of the office, and leaving us wondering if our email will get lost in the shuffle once they return.

The feature is currently rolling out to G Suite users, but it could take until September 16 to show up for everyone. If you'd rather not share your availability with other G Suite users, you can disable it in the Calendar settings following these steps.

Calendar settings > Access permissions. Just deselect "Show calendar info in other Google apps, limited by access permissions."

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