You're finally done catching up with all your work and tasks off your to-do list. You've even cleared out all the emails in your inbox, ensuring that all queries have been answered. So, you're probably safe to step away from your office for a few days, right? Well, the answer to your questions is – crafting out an out-of-office message.
Now, what exactly are these? Out-of-office messages are autoresponder messages that notify those trying to reach you when you're out of the office. It may seem like an easy task, but an out-of-office message states more than just when you’re away from the office. If your message is written in an unclear and vague manner, it may cause some communication issues while you're away from your workplace.
Writing a good out-of-office message will inform your colleagues, clients, and business associates as to why you cannot respond to them immediately. It'll also let them know when they'll be able to reach you, and how to proceed with urgent matters in the absence of your presence. Now, don't worry if you've never crafted an out of office message, we're here to tell you all the things you need to know!
Beginning with the things to avoid in your out of office messages. A good out of office message often excludes the following details:
An automatic reply shouldn't be too complicated. Your receiver doesn't need to know about the exact plans of your time away from work. Simply noting that you'll be away, let's say for a business trip, is sufficient.
When you're away, it's only natural to assume that there will be work pilling up for you to attend as soon as you're back to work. Hence, avoid setting an expectation that you'll be able to respond to the missed message immediately upon your return. It might take you some time to finally catch up to their messages on top of all the other emails, calls, and projects when you return to the office. However, keep a lookout for all messages. You don't want to let a message sit too long in your inbox going unanswered.
It's important to include your colleagues' contact information in case of emergency, but don't ever promise their immediate assistance. You couldn't possibly ensure how quickly your colleagues may be able to respond to your emails in your absence. In addition, make sure that you've gotten your colleague's permission before including them in your messages. You don't want to catch your colleagues by surprise!
It's always better to include both the leave and return dates, as it informs people how long you will be away from your workplace. Your recipients probably want to know when they might get a proper response to their queries. Just think about how many emails and messages will be waiting for your return. You might take more than a day to be even able to read and reply through all the crucial messages waiting to be answered.
Always, and we repeat, always include your job title and some personal information in your out of office messages. Sometimes people may mistake you as the person in charge when they're actually looking for your colleagues in another department. It would save their day if they could have contacted the right person sooner instead of waiting for your reply.
It's always best to mention alternative contact information in case of an urgent matter. You should include your colleague's name, phone number, and email address, who covers for you while you're away. If you handle multiple scopes in the office, specify their expertise, so people know exactly who to find when needing assistance.
If you're able to check your incoming emails from time to time while you're out of the office, it's better to include this in your out of office message. Similarly, if you're never really away from work, include ways to reach you. However, if you're unable to look or attend any emails while you're gone, do not give people any false hope that you might be able to get back to them.
Remember when we said you should avoid giving too many details in your out of office messages? You should always include the reason for your leave but avoid being too specific on the details of your absentees.
This is probably the most common out of office message of all time. From time to time, you'll probably take on some annual leaves, and even if you don't, you'll probably be forced by the HR Department to take some.
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, I am on vacation from [date] to [date] and will be happy to assist you in your queries upon my return. If you require immediate assistance, kindly contact our Customer Service at [email].
As much as I would like to help, I cannot give you a quick reply. I am on my annual leave starting from [date] and will return on [date]. If you have any urgent matter, I suggest contacting [Name] at [email] for a quicker response.
Thank you for your email. I am away on vacation from [date] and you can expect a response when I return on [date]. Please contact [Name] at [email] or [phone] for urgent inquiries.
I am on my annual leave and will be out of the office from [date] to [date] with limited access to my email. I will reply upon my return. For urgent matters, kindly contact [Name] at [email] or [phone] for their attention.
Sick leaves are also pretty common in any workplace. One wouldn't be able to predict when they'll get ill, so an out of office message is a must for this occasion.
I'm sorry to inform you that I'll be out of the office from [date] to [date] because of my illness. In the meantime, do contact my colleague at [email] for urgent queries. Take care!
I'm currently unavailable and have no access to my email. I hope to return by [date] and be able to assist you as soon as possible. However, if you need any assistant before I get back, kindly contact [Name] at [email]. [Name] will be more than happy to assist you.
Thank you for your message. I'm on of the office on medical leave from [date] to [date]. I will be checking my email from time to time, but as of urgent matter, kindly contact [Name] at [email] or [phone] for all your queries during this time. I appreciate your understanding.
I will be away from my desk from [date] and I hope to return by [date]. For any urgent matters, don't hesitate to get in touch with my colleague [Name] at [email] or [phone] to answer your questions. Thank you.
This is one of those special occasions where you just don't want to be disturbed with work emails and messages. You're usually out of the office for a long time, so make sure to include the fact that you wouldn't be monitoring your emails during your time away.
I'm on maternity/paternity leave and have no access to my email between [date] and [date]. During my time away, do contact [Name] for any urgent matters.
I have gone on paternity leave from [date] to [date]. During my absence, [Name] will be covering for me. You can reach him/her by sending an email to [email].Thank you for your kind understanding.
Thank you for your message. I'm out of the office from [date] to [date] for maternity leave. If you need assistance while I'm away, please contact [Name] at [email] or [phone] for any queries. He/She will be happy to help.
I will be away from the office due to maternity leave, with no access to my email. I'm away from [date] and will be returning on [date]. For any immediate assistance, you may reach me at [phone].
If you leave your office for work-related travel, you should still be able to receive emails and respond to them. However, you should make it clear that your responses will be slightly delayed.
I’m currently attending a training session from [time/date] to [time/date]. I will be checking my emails in between sessions. It might take a while for me to respond. For any urgent matters, please call [phone].
Thank you for your message. I'm out of the office attending the [event] conference in [place]. I'll be checking my inbox periodically, but please contact me at [phone] if you need immediate assistance.
I’m currently unavailable as I’m attending [event] from [time/date] to [time/date]. Though it might take a while, I'll respond to you once available. For immediate response, please call at [phone]. Thank you.
Thank you for your message. I'm currently at [event] and will be sure to check my email in between sessions. I apologise if my reply might take longer than usual. I will be able to respond in a timelier manner after the event starting from [time/date]. In the meantime, kindly contact [Name] at [email] for any urgent matters.
Sometimes, a short and professional out of office message is all you need to communicate the main reasons for your absence.
Thank you for your email. I will be away from the office from [date] to [date]. I have limited access to my email and will not be able to respond immediately. Kindly contact [Name] at [email] or [phone] for urgent queries.
I'm out of the office from [date] until [date] with no access to my email. Please contact [Name] at [email] or [phone] if you require immediate assistance.
I'm currently away from the office starting [date] to [date]. I will be checking my email from time to time. However, if there are any urgent matters to be attended to, kindly call [phone].
I will be away from my desk from [date] to [date]. For any urgent matters, you can contact [Name] at [email] or [phone]. Thank you for your understanding.
Having an out of office message shows your professionalism in handling work emails even when you're gone. A thoughtful automated response is a thoughtful way of letting people know how long you will be away and when they can expect a reply. Receiving an out of office message can surely reassure them that their queries will not go unnoticed.
However, keep in mind that the out of office messages are supposed to be helpful and not hinder you and anyone looking for you. Even If you're someone who regularly clears out your inbox messages, all these messages while you're away will probably take more than just a day for you to attend. So (and we can't stress this enough), DO NOT set unrealistic expectations for your recipients.
Lastly, out of office messages are more than just a formality. Set it up accordingly, and it'll be working for you in answering simple questions of "Why you're away?" and allows you to be worry-free of the emails that come in while you're away.