As I said, I was quite pleased with myself for not including "slower to respond" in my recent out-of-office message. I was deliberately transparent that I would not be checking my email while I was on vacation. But unfortunately, the way that our culture regards these notes renders the word choice somewhat inconsequential. "One thing I've noticed is that you never know whether the out-of-office auto-response is real or fake," Dr. Boyse says. It's not uncommon to receive an auto-response, and then shortly afterward to receive an actual response from the person you emailed. "I think people plan to do certain little things on their vacation, like replying to emails that only require quick responses, but then that adds up and more tasks creep in," Dr. Boyse says. "When you open the door to that stuff, everything ends up being more than you expected, and it really does pull you out of vacation mode." This, in turn, skews expectations for everyone involved. "I think no one trusts out-of-office responses anymore. When people get them, they think, 'Oh, that just means that it's going to maybe be a few hours or the person will probably reply to me tonight rather than during the workday,' rather than people thinking it really means that they're not going to hear back for a week."