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Social media ‘bragging’ spilling out into workplace

Social media has been blamed for the growing trend of office workers using out of office emails to brag about their summer holidays, glamourous lifestyles and even new babies. Comment Chris Meredith of LondonOffices.com.

LondonOffices.com claims there is a growing trend for the once sober out of office auto responder to be loaded up with boasts about how much fun the worker is having while they are away from the office.

Brags include details of the person’s holidays, their access to glamorous sporting events and landmark life events such as weddings and new babies – some even attached photographs. Many will mask their boasting in self-deprecation – turning it into a ‘humble brag’ while others prefer to deflect the boastful nature of the content with humour.

But despite the jokes out of office messages are increasingly being used to communicate to contacts how wonderful the worker’s life is – with many sending out thousands of emails including personal details to clients and work associates with whom they have a purely professional relationship.

Chris Meredith of LondonOffices.com believes our addiction to social media has blurred the boundaries of what should and should not be shared for many office workers.

He said: “We are all used to seeing people share details of how incredible their lives are on social media and many of us feel a need to compete or keep up with others who seem to be leading a more perfect life than we are. What we are now seeing is that trend is spilling over into business communications and the out of office auto responder is a great example of that.

“In the early days of email the out of office responder was purely a tool to be used to inform contacts of the dates we would be out of the workplace and when they could expect us back. It might also include the contact details of a colleague who could be contacted while we were away, but nothing more.

“But what we have seen over the last couple of years is an increase in the use of the responder to include private information such as where we are going on our holidays, what we will be doing at these glamourous locations and how much fun we will be having. Many workers, particularly young professionals, don’t stop to consider who this information will be sent out to. An auto responder will send this email to everyone who drops you a line over the next two weeks.

“This will include co-workers, managers and employers. It will also include clients and even prospective new business contacts. What we are seeing is a trend of social media infecting professional communications so workers are sharing far more on their auto responders than they ever would if they were emailing some of these professional contacts directly.”

Here are a selection of auto-responses received by the team at LondonOffices.com this summer:
“Thanks for the email, I’ve been very lucky and managed to get tickets to Wimbledon so won’t be back in the office now until Friday the 7th.”

“I am currently soaking up the sun and eating allllll the feta cheese in Greece.”

“I’m taking a long weekend to reorganise my stamp collection.”

“Last autumn, my wife and I started working on a little project. It got off to an exciting start; then things got a bit bumpy; but we’ve even managed to deliver on our objective two weeks early. I hope you’ll be as pleased with the results as we are… (Picture of baby) I’m off for a couple of weeks for a thorough debrief.”

“I’ve abandoned London, flown across the pond and set up camp in NYC for the summer to work for a cool magazine, drink cocktails and eat bagels.”

“I am away with my family dancing, meditating, eating lovely food and taking part in fun interesting workshops at a festival so won’t be picking up any emails.”

“I am away at a festival meditating, walking mindfully, eating lovely vegan food, meeting new and old friends, recharging and enjoying the sunflowers in France.”

“Something old, new, borrowed and blue, My friend’s about to say ‘I do’, So as I walk her down the aisle, I won’t check emails for a while. Here’s some news: I’ve bid adieu to this job in order to variously pursue projects of my own and to trek off to Sri Lanka for a volunteering venture.”

“I’m on a trip trying to find Komodo Dragons in Indonesia.”