A shared mailbox works the same way as a normal email account, the only difference is it is managed by several people. It allows a group of users to view/send emails in one mailbox, freeing up space in your personal mailbox.
With one clearly defined email address for business use, a single copy of the email is stored as opposed to multiple copies when email lists are used. Shared mailboxes are convenient for organising, controlling and archiving, and allows members who have recently joined the list to catch up on previous emails.
One of the biggest questions we get asked around major holidays is how to set an Out of Office (OOF) message on a shared mailbox in Office 365, which is quickly being adopted by a number of our clients as their preferred email system.
The first step to setting the OOF is ensuring you have access to the shared mailbox. If you need access, simply ask us to add the permission.
When you have access to the shared mailbox the next step is to login to your Office 365 mailbox, go to https://outlook.office365.com and login with your username and password.
Once you are logged in, click on the top right of the screen where your user picture is located and select Open another mailbox.
A popup will appear on the screen where you can enter the name of the shared mailbox. Click search directory and Office 365 will search for matching names. Select the name required and click open. A new window will open for the shared mailbox.
The next step is to click on the cog again, this is located in the top right of the screen. Then select Automatic replies.
From here, click the radio button send automatic replies. You will now be able to set the automatic reply with the date and time range that will go to your internal email addresses.
If the shared mailbox receives emails from outside of your organisation, set the message (or a different message) for senders outside your organisation as well.
Click Ok at the top of the screen to apply the settings.
Why not have a little fun when setting your message? Ben recently took a week off with his family and his Out of Office message was:
Thanks for your email.
I've been kidnapped by my family and am being held hostage in a beach side apartment. I'm being force fed coffee every morning while being made to read the newspapers. The days are a constant labour of walking on the beach, digging holes in the sand (I'm unclear on their intended purpose, but it worries me) with occasional sessions of solitary confinement locked in a room and made to 'nap'. In the evenings I'm forced to consume cheese and wine and made to watch the sunset. It's truly horrible. I would much rather be at the office replying to your email, but as yet have been unable to escape my captors. As soon as I manage to do so (or they take mercy on me and release me) yours will be the first message I reply to, I promise.
I have heard whispers that my office is currently negotiating for my release, hopeful of having me back safely by Monday 25th January. For an update on how negotiations are progressing you can contact my office on 1300 554 138 or firstname.lastname@example.org.