If you’re going to take a break from work and know you’ll have limited access to your inbox, one of the points on your to-do list just before you leave should be to create an out-of-office message (OOO message). However, the OOO message cannot be random text but a carefully selected information set.
Read on to find out what a good out-of-office message looks like and what you should avoid in your automated replies. Finally, take a look at the best office message examples you can use on the spot.
Out-of-office messaging can’t be left to the last minute, as it’s an essential part of letting your recipients know what you’re up to shortly. You can set up your out-of-office message to remove the impolite guessing about whether you’re available or not.
Here are the basic elements of an out-of-office message that you should definitely use.
Depending on the recipient of your out-of-office message, you should think about your email greeting and ending. Feel free to choose from our pre-made lists of the best email greetings and best email closings. Remember to follow your company’s tone and voice rules when picking them.
Add a date range when you won’t be around so your recipients can stay in the loop. For clarity, try formatting the date as follows: […] starting March 31, 2022 (Thursday) through April 11, 2022 (Monday). Confirm the dates and double-check your calendar.
Give a personal touch to your away message and let recipients know why your response will be delayed. Maybe you’re attending an exciting conference? Or perhaps you’re down for a holiday break? Write the reasons for being away from the office. This will make coworkers or customers less likely to try to contact you because they’ll know you’re busy or resting.
You can also add instructions that recipients can review in your absence. For example, you can send a restricted link to a document containing helpful resources related to your work. Creating such a “knowledge pill” takes some time and effort, but your colleagues will appreciate it.
Include personal information about the business associates who will take over some of your responsibilities during your time away. Include their name, job title, and contact email address. Let these people know that you’ll mention them in your out-of-office message so they aren’t taken by surprise.
This one’s optional, but if you’re a manager and want to keep your finger on the pulse, you can add your phone number so people can use it to get urgent assistance. Add information about when your coworker might call you to ensure they don’t abuse this possibility.
Now that you know the best practices for writing an out-of-office message, let’s look at the elements to avoid in your office autoresponder email message.
Stay professional in your auto-response message. Don’t give too much detail in your OOO messages, and think about the relevant content in your case. This will vary depending on whether you’re going on happy holidays or maternity leave. The time range is certainly a factor here.
The number of incoming messages when you’re back can be overwhelming. That’s why making promises to answer emails or phone calls as soon as you return to the office is a trap. Let’s face it — you won’t be able to do this in a flash because you’ll have a lot of things on your mind, not just business communications. That’s why you need to emphasize in your autoresponder email messages that you respect recipients, but it’ll take some time to catch up. This will be bad news for some of them, but you have to take care of your work-life balance, right?
Don’t expect your coworkers to respond here and now to every email closely related to your work. Their job is to help and follow up on conversations, not to bail you out. Be grateful that your coworkers can be the first point of contact when you’re not there, and make it up to them.
Remember that your messages reach not only our colleagues but also customers who expect you to behave professionally. Don’t tell silly jokes or use slang in your out-of-office messages, as people may take it the wrong way.
As you might guess, mistakes in emails can drastically degrade the reader’s experience and negatively affect how people see you. Yet, it takes so little to polish your message. Use free language plug-ins in your browsers to proofread your out-of-office messages and spot any language flaws. Keep it professional in every outgoing message.
There are several events worth preparing out-of-office messages for, for example, when you’re on sick leave, or when you’re ready to head out for a public holiday or a business trip.
You don’t have to plan your autoresponder email message from scratch, as I’ve prepared some of them just for you. Copy and paste one of these office message examples to quickly take it off your head.
When you’re in poor health, it’s obvious that you won’t check out your emails but lie down and regenerate. At such moments, use this out-of-office message template for sick leave.
Dear Sender, Unfortunately, I’m out sick, so the response to your email may be slightly delayed. I'm not available from [the time your absence starts] until [the time your absence finishes]. Thank you for your understanding. For urgent matters, please contact [name, surname, email of a contact person]. Sincerely, [Your name]
Some important events cannot be missed during the year, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. If you want to have a peaceful holiday, keep this out-of-office message public holiday for later.
Dear Sir or Madam, Thank you for contacting me. I'm heading off for the [the name of the national holiday], and I'm out of the office until [the time your absence finishes]. If you have an urgent matter, do not hesitate to contact [name, surname, email of a contact person]. I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday. Best regards, [Your name]
Are you planning an annual leave? Good for you! Don’t worry about the transparency of your situation. Schedule the out-of-office message for annual leave in your inbox, and had a peaceful year out.
Hello, Thank you for your message. I'm on annual leave from [the time your absence starts] to [the time your absence finishes], and I won't be able to check my inbox regularly until I return. I kindly promise to answer your email as soon as I get back. If you need immediate assistance, please contact [name, surname, email of a contact person]. Thank you for your time, [Your name]
When an important business meeting is coming up, you need to stay focused, but constantly incoming emails can distract you. Schedule a message out-of-office message for a business trip to achieve your goal and success.
Hi there, I'm out of your reach from [the time your absence starts] until [the time your absence finishes] as I'm on a business trip. If your case requires immediate assistance, please contact [name, surname, email of a contact person]. Thank you for your patience. Kind regards, [Your name]
Vacation is a must if you want to unplug and recharge. Make the most of your free time and plan an out-of-office message for a vacation in advance.
Greetings, Thank you for your email. I can't answer your message personally as I'm on the move with the limited access to my inbox. I'll be away from [the time your absence starts] until [the time your absence finishes]. In case of an urgent matter, please contact [name, surname, email of a contact person]. Warm regards, [Your name]
Expect the unexpected and always have the autoresponder email messages up your sleeve. Use our office message examples to speed up the process of creating the out-of-office email and enjoy your break. Keep the out-of-office message as personal as your daily emails and share valuable information you feel comfortable with. The aim is to inform and be transparent to your recipients and alleviate the stress of returning to work after your time off.
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