Did you know a well-earned vacation can improve workplace productivity by 80%?
Taking a break from work is just as important to your business as it is to your mental health. But with ‘urgent’ messages and calls coming in around the clock, switching off has never been harder.
It’s a boundary everyone should be working on. How can you be expected to relax and unwind if your brain is still at work?
Use an out-of-office message to do the work for you by reassuring others that you’ve received their message and will be getting back to them on your return.
If you work with multiple stakeholders, crafting the right message can be hard.
Spend five minutes with one of our templates and you’ll communicate the information you need to in a concise, effective out-of-office message.
An out-of-office message is an automatic response to incoming emails and texts which lets the sender know you’re away from work, how long you’ll be gone, and that you’ve received their message.
One of the most important things an out-of-office message includes is an alternative contact for those trying to reach you.
Providing a colleague’s email address or phone number offers an alternative for urgent matters. If it’s a real emergency, your colleague can contact you when you’re on vacation.
Ultimately, an out-of-office message should be short, polite, and provide the necessary information to reassure those attempting to contact you that you’ll pick up their message on your return.
Setting an out-of-office message is important for your business contacts and your well-being.
If you’ve taken some time off to recharge, you deserve that time without customers, clients, or colleagues attempting to reach you at all hours. Letting them know you’re away is a great way to minimize this.
For those who do reach out, it’s better to reply as soon as possible, nobody likes to be kept waiting.
When people know you’re away, they’re more likely to look for other sources of information. This will save a lot of unnecessary emails being sent to you and make your return to work far easier.
Employees often feel pressure to write an original out-of-office message. This might mean a GIF of penguins during the holidays, or a sunbathing cat when a contact’s on summer vacation.
It’s up to you how formal or informal you’d like to be, but bear in mind the following tips to make sure your out-of-office message offers all of the necessary information.
Try as we might, we just can’t call a GIF a necessity. The rest of these points are, so make sure to include them.
Just like any message chain, you should retain politeness. Whether that’s a simple ‘Hello’ or, ‘Thanks for your message’ is up to you. It’s nice for the sender to be recognized before you jump into how you’re currently sunbathing in the Bahamas.
Provide the date of your return to the office. This will let contacts know when they can reach out again and provide a ballpark estimate of when to expect a reply.
It’s inevitable that some emails just can’t wait for your return. It’s also inevitable that some people will believe this to be true, even when it isn’t. For those incoming messages, it’s best to leave the contact information of the colleague who’s taking on your responsibilities while you’re away.
Once you’ve written out the necessary information, make sure to proofread it and triple check you’ve set up the message correctly.
Employees often reuse the same automatic replies, which can mean dates and alternate contacts aren’t changed. Avoid the confusion by giving it a once-over.
Some things are best left unsaid. Here’s what we recommend avoiding in your out-of-office message.
An out-of-office message should be making lives easier, so avoid filling it with unnecessary information to filter out. More often than not, your message is skimmed quickly, so if you want to put in a light-hearted joke, make sure it’s at the end.
When you’re heading out of the office door, your return to work can feel very far away. But that time will come, and when it does you’ll have a backlog of emails, texts, calls and work to catch up on. Buy yourself some time by not promising to reply to missed messages immediately.
If you’re a business or establishment with international customers, avoid the 08/07/2021 format. The 7th August 2021 written outside of the U.S. is usually 07/08/21. Write out an abbreviated date, Aug 7th, to avoid international miscommunication.
Always make sure to check in with your colleague before putting their email or phone number on your out-of-office message. There could be somebody better suited to field inquiries, or your prospective contact may not feel they have enough capacity to take it on.
If you’re wondering what a worse-case out-of-office message looks like, here’s an example, (and no, Alice was never told that she’d be the alternative contact).
Thanks for emailing! I’m currently catching rays in the Maldives!
So sorry, but my hands will be too full of Pina Coladas to respond until the day I return, 8/7/2021.
Until then, talk to Alice: 888-641-0302
Depending on your industry, your business, and your reason for being off, there are hundreds of ways you could write your out-of-office message.
If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve pulled together examples based on some of the most common reasons for being away from work.
A corporate template offers information on a need-to-know basis. The message is short, to the point, and is best for important clients and those in a highly professional work environment.
Thank you for your message.
I’m out of the office until Aug 5th and will get back to you as soon as I can.
If it’s urgent please contact my colleague Alice on: 888-641-0302
Some teams have dedicated landing pages or website areas dedicated to FAQs and relevant information for when a contact is unavailable.
In those circumstances, you’ll want to share a link to the resource within your out-of-office template to point contacts in the right direction.
Thanks for your message!
I’m currently out of the office until Aug 5th. For all inquiries relating to templates please follow this link.
For all other inquiries please email Alice, at: [email protected]
I will get back to all other messages as soon as possible.
It’s always best to tread carefully with funny out-of-office responses. Bear in mind that the same message being sent to your best friend at work could also be sent to your most important client.
Humour isn’t universal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t inject some personality into your message.
Thanks for your message.
Our whole team is currently out on the ST superyacht (ok, it’s really the ST annual conference).
We’ll be replying to messages from tomorrow AM but for urgent matters, you can give us a call on: 888-641-0302.
Your out-of-office message is your ticket to a relaxing vacation. It should be working in your place, even if that’s just to direct contacts to another source of information.
Don’t worry too much about how to craft the perfect message, just make sure the necessary information is in there by following our examples. Next stop, the beach.
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