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Officemates OOO Over the Holidays? Skype Can Help

During the holiday season, you may find your employees, co-workers and yes…yourself … away from the office more than usual.  Some people spend time with far-flung family and work remotely, or they’re in transit frequently to various personal and professional commitments.

I want to share a few of my favorite ways Skype can help smooth over any challenges when you, or your colleagues and partners, are OOO.

  • Call Forwarding: If you know you’re not going to be able to pick up your incoming Skype calls, you may want to activate call forwarding. You can set it up so your Skype audio calls transfer automatically, for free, to another person’s Skype ID (you must pick someone in your contact list), or you can send the calls to a standard phone number, like your mobile phone, which costs a little.
  • Voicemail: Voicemail, a simple, effective and frequently overlooked Skype feature, is free to all Skype users and an easy way to alert your contacts about your availability. You have a variety of options with voicemail – how long a call goes answered before it kicks in, for example – so be sure to install the most updated Skype version and then personalize voicemail to your situation.
  • Mood Message:  Changing your mood message – the short message that appears in your Skype ID – is an efficient way to ensure your professional contacts know when you’re away from the office, on the road or unavailable. Remind your team to communicate their OOO status through their mood messages too (and to update them continually through the holiday season).
  • Ongoing Group Chats: If you’re not already using them, ongoing group chats are incredibly useful for teams to remain in contact when everyone’s not available at the same time. If one or more team member is away, everyone else can continue the conversation, and the absent team members can catch up when they log back on.

    One clever tip: You can create message that appears automatically next to your name when you contribute comments to the chat. If you’re OOO, perhaps you want a message that says “Working From Home” or “On the Road.” Check out chat commands to see how to set that up.

  • Video Message: If you know a professional contact is unavailable, you can record a free video message and send it to her Skype account, to be retrieved when she logs back on.  Video messages can be a great way to update a colleague or ask a question, particularly if you want to display something visually at the same time.

Do you have tips for using Skype when you’re OOO? Tell us about it!

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