Far too often, I and others receive emails or perhaps voicemails from people (attorneys, staff, etc.) indicating they will be out of the office, or late or something similar and then sharing TMI = too much information. I do not need to know that you have diarrhea, or an abscessed tooth or whatever. Of course if there is a serious health problem and you will be out for an extended time, that is a different situation. I am talking about brief absences. And these don't have to be limited to doctors' appointments and sick days. This can include your being out to attend to a child's event, such as a party at school.
Years ago, a staff member at my sister's firm would be absent from work a lot due to the usual illnesses that come up with a young child. Every time she would email "Johnny has a virus and I will be out." "Johnny has [insert illness." They understand but it was getting old. And when she specified that she would be out to join the class at the pumpkin patch field trip later on, that just about sent everyone off the edge. A simple "I will be out of the office for some appointments tomorrow but will be checking messages and here is my cell" would have been fine, and more effective.
You really don't need to share details, generally speaking. If someone tells me they have "an appointment outside the office," I don't ask any further questions. This is a good all purpose line. I often have appointments or meetings outside the office. That is enough information for most workplaces. A former colleague of mine was given solid advice by a mentor, something along the lines of "don't say you are going to the hair stylist or your kids' school, etc. Just say you have an appointment outside the office." Someone else I know puts an out of office message along the lines of "I will be attending a series of meetings outside the office on ________, but I will be checking voicemails and emails.." Now the series of meetings could include the dentist, the parent teacher conference, etc. But we don't need to know all that. Keep it short and professional. Of course, keep an eye on messages if you can to guard for any work crises that may arise while you are out.
Thanks for your input. I will try to go back to at least 2-3 times a week posting. Hang in there, I know it is a difficult market. I have a few friends now out on the street.
Have a fun Saturday.