Apparently a journalist in the FT says that no one should have out of office messages - not in this day and age of mobile Internet devices (actually he says "blackberry and iPhone" - just in case you'd not noticed there are other devices out there)
I'd agree. Not because we should be on 24hrs, 7 days a week. Not because of course it is utterly reasonable to be available even if in a different time zone, or doing something else.
I'd agree as the journalist, Tyler Brule, says what 70% of the world think. "I have sent an email, therefore you should read it."
There is no point expecting an end to the torrent of mails, usual inane two line whines. There is no point expecting people to notice the polite notice, that you are away, doing something not at your desk, therefore cannot answer today and please ask someone else. There is no point, as anyone who actual works knows, you will still get cc'd and still get the mails and then the demands for replies.
No one reads the out of office. They ignore them.
Because work is now sending mails. Not doing things, or makings things, or writing anything more than FYI on the top of another series of forward mails and at the end is a demand for a report on something that has nothing to do with you or the original sender.
Mass instant communication - and all it is, is noise to show that people are "working".