Gmail’s new feature could help you relax more when on vacation

Patrick Devaney


Out of office. Those three words are supposed to protect us from all things work related whenever we’re on vacation. We set up our Gmail out of office dates, pen an automatic response that explains to people how long we’ll be away for and then, theoretically at least, we walk away from our inboxes. We might also use the out of office feature when we’re away from our desks for business related tasks but everything we’ve just said still stands. We don’t want to be distracted when we’re using out of office features.

The trouble with out of office though, is that it only kicks in once somebody has already sent us an email. They send us an email and they’re told we’re away, but we still receive the email. If our notifications are still switched on that email will ping away in our pocket.

If this sounds like an annoying an unsatisfactory solution for when you’re out of the office, you’ll be pleased to hear about a great new Gmail feature.

Gmail and Hangout Chats will show you when somebody you’re trying to contact is out of the office BEFORE you send a message

This is a very simple change for Google to make to Gmail. We already give the app all the information it needs to do this, it is just that now it will be displayed a little earlier. This is the type of eureka moment new feature that you can imagine everybody in the Gmail office thinking ‘Why didn’t I think of that?!?’

Image via: G Suite Updates

When it hits your Gmail account a small change will make a big difference. Whenever you put the Gmail address of somebody who has logged themselves as out of the office, you’ll see a banner at the bottom of the main text box telling you that the contact is out of the office and also letting you know when they’ll be back. The same goes for Google Hangouts, which will show the same banner in the same position.

Image via: G Suite Updates

The Google blog post, which recently announced this most common sense of new features says that all Gmail users should expect to see it within 1-3 days of September 16 this year, with Hangouts users seeing the same release schedule.

Combine this feature with Gmail’s recently unveiled scheduled send feature and you have a potent tool for both business and personal emails. Now, whenever you’re about to send an email to somebody who is away from their desk, you’ll be told when they’ll be back. Rather than sending the email anyway, you can simply schedule the email to go when you know they’ll be checking in on their inbox again. This stops the recipient from being disturbed wherever they may be and stops your email from ending up as one of a whole bunch that’ll be waiting for them whenever they log back in at the office. This feature helps everyone.

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