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Tuesday, Jan 04, 2005

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You've got mail, loads

Back from a holiday to find your mailbox jammed?



Most professionals come back from vacation to find their inbox swamped by mails. — Photo: Reuters

IT'S REALLY wonderful keeping in touch. But wonderful turns distressful when you return from vacation and realise that your mailbox has been clogged. Coz you're on vacation, and your e-mail account isn't. No wonder you're blue Monday morning.

Christmas and New Year is that time of the year, when goodwill, e-mails and SMSs flow as freely as wine and champagne. While the e-mail waits like the ogre at work, SMS proves the instant irritant.

Many start off Monday morning, trying to work out in their mind, how they will probably sit down for an hour straight the moment they get to office and clear out that inbox, send quick replies and junk the spam.

Auto response

Suhas Gopinath, CEO and President of Globals Inc. headquartered in the U.S. and with operations in India, was definitely expecting a hectic Monday to go back to. When MetroPlus spoke to him on the first day of the year, his executives had already begun to sift through the humungous amount of mail from his clients in India and abroad. "I think I'll have at least 100 mails to go through when I get back to work on Monday. As a policy, all employees activate an automatic vacation response system as we've been closed since Christmas." But sometimes, he does monitor mails, though he may not respond immediately. Working in different time zones, Suhas will deal with one batch of mails in the morning and again a fresh batch from his U.S. clients in the evening.

It's not just CEOs who have to deal with this problem. Students today literally breathe e-mail and SMSs.People often swamp the numerous cyber cafes during the festive season, trying to mail friends and relatives as well as check their own accounts. Try bagging a terminal on New Year's Eve at one of these café's. You'll definitely lose a bet on that!

Keerthi Bhanu, who runs a software firm, was on vacation for two days for the New Year. "I know for sure that on Monday morning I will be spending an hour checking my mail. Reciprocating to New Year wishes will be my first priority, and then I'll tackle the business mail," says the judicious businessman who's got it all planned. By Saturday evening, he cleared one lot of his e-mails from his home computer. "It's almost become a habit to check my mail at least once every evening, and respond immediately. When you run your own business, you can't afford to neglect your mails." Even if he is on vacation, Bhanu makes it a point to hit a cyber café every evening.

Pravina Manjunath, a customer service adviser at a BPO call centre, got four days off for the New Year celebrations. But other teams in her centre who took off for Christmas, worked. On Saturday, she was already sure that at least 25 internal circulars would be waiting for her on her work mail account. "I'll definitely have a problem dealing with those mails because there will also be enough work to attend to immediately." The solution? Simultaneously check mail and work till you sort through every one of them. But she chose to completely stay off her two personal mail accounts during the vacation.

The `Bcc' field

He still loves sending greetings by snail mail and says he can live without e-mail, staying away from them on vacation. Srikrishna, a business analyst with Bank Consult was back at work on January 1. By Saturday, he had cleared 45 e-mails since the night of January 31. "I only reply greetings sent to me personally. The moment I see myself as part of the `Bcc' list, I don't respond," he adds with a laugh. With pop-up mail being the order of the day, getting the latest and being done with it is no difficult. Doctors definitely slog the year through, with emergencies always killing the fun of a vacation. And when you have nearly eight e-mail accounts, you really have your hands full. Deepak Sharan, a consultant in orthopaedics and rehabilitation, has set aside a separate e-mail account for patients who keep him updated on their treatment and consult him via mail. "I get around 60 mails everyday. But since I'm not on vacation, I constantly deal with my mails. I usually do it late at night. But around New Year's my personal account is flooded with around 150 mails a day, mostly greetings." With an online education and consultation on the anvil, he's planning to allot an associate exclusively to deal with his mails.

BHUMIKA K.

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