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How to write an Out of Office Message? [12 Templates]

How to write an Out of Office Message? [12 Templates]
How to write an Out of Office Message? [12 Templates]

You might be soaking up the sun on the beach or tearing up the slopes, but your coworkers, customers, and other business associates are still in the office and may not know that you're unavailable.

You might be soaking up the sun on the beach or tearing up the slopes, but your coworkers, customers, and other business associates are still in the office and may not know that you're unavailable.

Failing to tell people that you're out of the office could come back to haunt you, especially if they're expecting a prompt response. Before heading out for that much needed time off, it's imperative that you set up an out of office reply. In case you feel stumped, we've crafted 7 out of office messages to inspire you.

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Watch on YouTube: "How to Set Up Out of Office Messages in Gmail & Outlook"

What is an out-of-office message?

An out-of-office message (or OOO message) is an email you set up to automatically send to anyone who emails you when you can't check or answer your emails for a while. It lets people know why you're not getting back to them right away and what they can do or who they can talk to instead while you're gone.

How to write a good out of office message?

You've ticked off all your tasks and your inbox is empty. Before you head out for your break, whether it's a quick weekend escape or a long summer holiday, there's one last task to tick off: set up an out-of-office email. You'll probably need to do this for other work communication tools as well.

A bad out-of-office message, or not setting one up at all, can cause issues both while you're away and when you get back.

For instance, if you don't say when you'll be back, your team and clients might keep emailing you. This could fill your inbox and make it hard to get back on track after your holiday. Also, if you don't share contact details for someone who can help while you're gone, projects might stall and clients may feel neglected.

So how do you write a good out-of-office message? Here are some essential tips to help you out:

  • Collect Important Information: Before you start, make sure you have all the details you'll want to include in your message.
  • Professional Email Practices: Use the same guidelines for professional email writing that you would normally follow.
  • Subject Line: Craft a clear and, if appropriate, clever subject line that indicates you're out of the office.
  • Greeting: Begin with a polite greeting to address the sender cordially.
  • Conciseness is Key: Keep the body of your out-of-office message brief and to the point.
  • Add a Thank You: Include a courteous note like “Thanks for your email” or a forward-looking comment such as “Looking forward to connecting upon my return.”
  • Closing: End with a standard sign-off and your professional signature that usually includes your position and contact information.
  • Review: Before you finalize your message, read through it carefully to check for any errors or typos.

Remember, the goal is to inform and direct, not to provide a detailed explanation of your absence. Keep it professional, informative, and if possible, a bit personal to maintain the human touch.

What to include in an out-of-office email message?

In your out-of-office message, it's a good idea to cover the basics like:

  • The reason you're away
  • How long you'll be out & When you'll be back
  • Whom to contact (and their phone number) if it's urgent. Include these, and your vacation message will be perfect.

Depending on what you do and what your contacts might need, you might want to give more information. Many email services let you set up two different out-of-office replies at the same time: one for the people you work with directly and another for people outside your company.

What to avoid in an out-of-office message?

When setting up your out-of-office message, professionalism and brevity are key. Here's what you should typically avoid: Over-Elaboration: Your auto-reply should be succinct. There's no need to divulge too much about where you're going or why. This keeps the focus on the essential information.

Immediate Response Promises: Don't suggest you'll get back to emails immediately after you return. It's more realistic to allow yourself some time to catch up.

Volunteering Others Without Approval: Always ask colleagues if you can include them as emergency contacts in your out-of-office reply. They need to agree to handle additional inquiries in your stead.

Out of Office Message Templates

So what's a good out-of-office reply look like?

Below you'll find 8 different out-of-office replies that you can take inspiration from when crafting your own.

Out of Office Sample Vacation Message

Sending a vacation message can be tricky. Here's a great vacation message.

Hi there,

Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office from mm/dd to mm/dd and will have limited access to email / will not have access to email. If this is urgent, please contact [NAME] at [EMAIL] or [PHONE]. I will do my best to respond promptly to your email when I return on mm/dd.

Best regards,

NAME

We don't always have time to be clever or creative, and that's okay! At its core, a vacation responder email simply needs to inform the sender that you are out of the office and when to expect a response.

The elements of a great out of office reply are

  1. How long you will be gone
  2. When you will return, and
  3. Whom to contact (and their phone number) if it's urgent. Include these, and your vacation message will be perfect.

Lead Generation

Have you ever thought of an out of office message as a lead generation tool? Well, now, you should! It's quite easy to create an opportunity to collect a lead in your vacation responder. Just add a little flair to the end of the message and start raking in the leads!

Hello and thanks for your email. I'm currently out of the office until mm/dd with limited / no access to email. If your request is urgent, please contact [NAME] at [EMAIL or PHONE].

In the meantime, did you know we have a weekly / monthly newsletter? Yep, you heard that right! A weekly dose of all your favorite [COMPANY] content sent right to your inbox. To ensure you don't miss out on all the good stuff, sign up for our newsletter here.

I'll be sure to get back to you when I return on mm/dd.

Thanks

Aside from a newsletter sign-up, you can use this opportunity to encourage webinar attendance, signing up for an online course, whitepaper downloads, or any other lead generation tactic your sales and marketing team implements.

Content Promotion OOO Message Template

A professional email sign-off is an incredibly effective branding tool. but, did you also know a professional HTML email signature could also be a great lead generation tool? It's true! Add a clickable banner or a CTA to your out-of-office email sign-off and make people visit your online store, sign up for a webinar, or download an ebook. Online generators like Newoldstamp or MySignature can help you to automate the signature adoption process across the whole company.

If generating leads is not a key strategy of your sales or marketing efforts, you can use your out of office message to get more eyeballs on your content. Add a little value to your email by linking to an interesting online resource your company has developed. You can also use auto-reply messages to improve your promotion strategy.

Hi there,

Thanks for your email. I am out of the office right now and will not return until mm/dd. Fortunately for you, our resources never take time off, and we've got this awesome ebook / whitepaper / infographic on [TITLE], which I think you would enjoy.

I'll get back to you as soon as I get back into the office.

Best

Traffic-Driving Out Of Office Message Template

Hey there,

Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, I'm out of the office from mm/dd to mm/dd with limited / no access to email. If your question can wait, I'll be responding to the emails I missed when I return on [DAY]. If not, contact [NAME] at [EMAIL] or [PHONE] and he/she will take care of you.

Did you email me about [SERVICE YOU PROVIDE]? Great! Read what our customers are saying about how awesome their experience has been. (Link to customer testimonials or case studies)

I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks!

Maybe you don't have any content to promote, or you simply want to drive traffic to your website using an out-of-office reply. Great! A vacation responder is an awesome way to do that. Depending on the page you link to, your away message might be different, but here's an example.

Networking or New Business

As much as we'd prefer it, not every away message is for a vacation. Sometimes, you need an out of office reply for a business trip or conference. Instead of simply telling people you're out, why not use that opportunity to encourage networking or new business connections?

Hi there!

Thanks for your email. I'm out of the office at this super awesome conference [MONTH] [DAY]-[DAY]. Will you be there too? I'd love to connect! Our company will be exhibiting at booth ###. Feel free to stop by! / [NAME], our [TITLE], will be dropping knowledge during his/her speech on [DAY] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]. You won't want to miss it!

Follow and tweet me @Twitter_Handle for thoughts and conversation on the conference. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Best regards,

NAME

Social Media Engagement

The percent of people who follow brands on social media ranges from 44% to 53% (depending on the platform), and 53% of those who follow brands on social media are more loyal to those brands. So, it makes sense that companies want to build their audiences on social media, especially to create loyal customers.

However, most people don't seek out a brand's social media accounts. They're more likely to follow you if asked or presented with the opportunity, which can be done in your vacation responder.

Hey there!

Sorry you missed me. I'm out of the office from mm/dd to mm/dd and will be responding to my emails when I return on [DAY].

To keep up with all the latest happenings at [COMPANY], follow us on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram / Pinterest / Etc. (We're really funny on Twitter, trust me.)

I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks!

Funny/Clever

" of office messages are the funny, clever ones. There are tons of examples, from giving your "auto-responder robot" a personality to using GIFs and memes to joking about what you're actually doing on vacation. Messages like that can add a personal touch to auto-reply messages. Here are a few clever out of office message samples:

I heard winter was coming, so I decided to go to [WARM PLACE]. I'll be sipping cocktails on the beach until mm/dd and will not be checking email. Stay warm!

Hate to break it to you, but I'm on vacation until mm/dd and will not be checking emails. I'm sure you probably don't want to hear this since you're working, yourself, so here's a cat video to cheer you up. I'll be back from my trip on [DAY]. Enjoy your week!

BAD NEWS: I'm out of the office on vacation until mm/dd. I will be responding to all emails when I return.

GOOD NEWS: My colleague [NAME] has graciously offered to stay behind and cover my work. He/she is a superhero. If your request is urgent, you can contact him/her at [EMAIL].

Have a great week!

Holiday Out of Office Message

If you're planning to be away on holiday, it's helpful to inform your work colleagues about your absence and your return date. An out-of-office message is an efficient way to do this. Below is a straightforward template:

Subject: Out of Office: [Your Name]

Hi there!

Thank you for your email. I am currently on holiday until [Your Return Date]. I will get back to you as soon as I can after my return.

If you need help right away, please contact [Alternate Contact Name] at [Alternate Contact Email]. They are available to assist you.

Thanks for your understanding, and I look forward to replying to your email once I'm back.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

Out of Office Sick Message

Being out sick unexpectedly means you'll need to set up a quick out-of-office response. Here's a concise template that keeps things clear and polite:

Subject: Out of Office: [Your Name]

Hi,

I'm currently out of the office due to illness and won't be checking emails until I return.

For urgent matters, please get in touch with [Alternate Contact Name] at [Alternate Contact Email]. They are ready to help in my stead.

Your understanding is greatly appreciated, and I'm looking forward to getting back to you once I'm healthy again.

Best wishes,

[Your Name]

Simple Out of Office Message for One Day

Even if you're away for just one day, an out-of-office message is a good idea. Here's a template that's perfect for short absences:

Subject: Out of Office: [Your Name]

Hello,

Thank you for your message. I am out of the office today, [Date], and will return tomorrow, [Return Date]. I will respond to your email as soon as I'm back.

If you need immediate assistance, please contact [Alternate Contact Name] at [Alternate Contact Email].

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

Christmas Out-of-Office Message

During the festive Christmas season, it's nice to leave a holiday-themed out-of-office message. Here's one that spreads cheer while being informative:

Subject: Season's Greetings: [Your Name]

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I am away from the office for the Christmas holiday from [Start Date] to [End Date]. I'll be back and ready to respond to emails on [Return Date].

If your matter is urgent, please get in touch with [Alternate Contact Name] at [Alternate Contact Email], who will be happy to help you while I'm away.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a joyful holiday season!

Warm regards,

[Your Name]

Bonus: Maternity Leave Out Of Office Message

On some occasions, you may be gone for reasons other than your vacation. Make sure to set up an out of office response for either long-term sick leave and maternity leave as well.

Thank you for reaching out. I'm currently on maternity/paternity leave and cherishing the time with my new addition to the family. I plan to return to work on [Return Date].

For urgent matters, please contact [Alternate Contact Name] at [Alternate Contact Email], who will ensure continuity and is happy to assist you in my absence.

Your understanding is greatly appreciated during this special time. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with you once I'm back.

Warmest regards,

[Your Name]

To spice up the auto-reply messages, you can send out an image instead of a regular reply mail, as seen in the example below.

Would you like to add the image but edit it for your own use? Please visit Venngage to edit the template. You will find a number of other templates to choose from.

Maternity leave out of office
Maternity leave out of office

Conclusion

Like many people, you may not realize that your away message is a unique opportunity to be memorable and make someone's day, beyond simply telling them you're out. It doesn't have to be a long or complex one - just thoughtful and interesting. So, next time you're setting up your vacation responder, use it to inform, assist, or delight the email sender. It will be a fun exercise for you and a pleasant surprise for them!

What's the best out of office message you've received or written? Let us know by sharing in the comments!

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Frequently Asked Question

What is a good out of office message?

An out of office message is the autoresponder that you have carefully designed to send to those who try to reach you while you are away from the office.

How do I set up an out of office message?

The process is simple. In your email settings, select the File option. Now, select Automatic Replies from the given list. At this point, type your autoresponder message. Then, select OK to save it.

Why is an out of office message important?

An out of office message is important because it let's you keep people informed and tells them how to proceed in your absence. You can also select options for urgent matters within your out of office message

What do you say on out of office?

Your out of office message should include the time period during which you will be out of your office, preferably including the exact dates.. You should also include whom the messenger should contact in case of an emergency. You can also include promotions and social links.