I am sure all of us have had that sinking feeling just after hitting the send button on an e-mail. I know I have, you may have just realised you addressed the wrong person or had a change of heart. I am certain a few careers or relationships would have been saved with some short delay or undo feature.
There is no point pressing the recall button, the e-mail has probably been delivered to multiple devices some of which will not understand a recall and if it's outside of the office system it won’t work anyway. In most cases a recall will draw more attention to the e-mail and makes the recipient want to read it more.
The options previously have been, cross your fingers and hope it gets missed or even blocked by spam filters or set up an Outlook rule to delay delivery. If you are desperate to add a delay to sending your e-mails you can do this using a rule in the Outlook client but that won’t work with Outlook Web Access or other apps such as Outlook for Mac. You could ask the system administrator to set a delay on the server before those e-mails actually go but that would be really hard to live with on a daily basis when customers and suppliers are waiting for information.
Microsoft has stepped up and added an “Undo” option to Outlook Web Access (OWA) and I’m sure it won’t be long before that makes its way into the main Outlook client. This feature has been part of Google mail for a while but I don’t know too many business users that actually use Google mail.
So how does it work and what can we do?
Initially, we can add a short delay before e-mails are sent, and take note that if you close the browser or turn off or put the PC to sleep it will also cancel the send.
So what does it look like?
If we create an e-mail in Outlook Web Access (this is only on Office 365 so far), and you must have the message in-line that means don’t open the e-mail in a separate window.
Once I hit send we can see the delayed status. Notice in the screenshot below the Sending….. this is the 30-second delay, the bar will creep up before finally sending the e-mail.
Where is the e-mail during this delay?
It is sat in your drafts folder.
What happens when you press Undo ?
A screen will open with the option of discarding the email.
Ok, so you still have to be fairly quick to “Undo” it but 30 seconds would have saved me on several occasions. I think once we see this hit the full Outlook client I will feel more at ease each time I hit send.