An out-of-office message is probably something we’ve all used at one point in our working lives. As the name suggests, OOO messages are meant to tell people we’re not at work.
While they’re pretty simple to write, they’re a bit harder to perfect. Getting your message across without waffling or being unhelpful is fairly difficult.
So, in this article, we’ll cover how to create an effective out-of-office email. We’ll discuss what to include and avoid before listing some out of office examples.
What is an Out-Of-Office Message?
An out-of-office message (also called OOO messages) is a piece of communication that tells people you’re not at work. Generally, you only set one for an extended period, such as a vacation.
We set them as automatic emails that reply if someone tries to contact us, whether they’re a colleague or customer. While emails are the most common method, you could also set a voicemail message letting people know you’re not at work.
OOO messages are meant to keep businesses running smoothly in your absence. For example, if you’ve been dealing with a certain client, they might get annoyed by a complete lack of communication. But if you set an out-of-office email, it’ll help manage their expectations.
What to Include in Auto-Reply Messages
You don’t need to write an essay every time you set an out-of-office message. It’s best to keep them as concise as possible, providing you manage to include the following information:
- How long you’re off work and, ideally, an exact date that you’ll return
- A reason for your absence
- A list of people who can help while you’re gone, along with their contact information
Stating the reason for your absence doesn’t need to be anything too detailed. For example, just saying you’re on vacation is fine. If it’s something you don’t want to share with people, stating it’s due to personal reasons should be enough.
What to Avoid in Your Out-Of-Office Message
Providing your OOO messages include the 3 bits of information listed above, everything else is unnecessary. While you can add some extra detail, there are things you should definitely avoid. These are:
Too Much Detail
Your out-of-office email doesn’t need to include where you’re going on vacation or who you’re going with. There’s absolutely no need to write a massive message detailing everything about your time off. Similarly, you don’t need to write a long list of people to contact. You should only need 2 or 3 people at most.
A Microsoft survey found that 60% of respondents like seeing creative or funny OOO messages from people. But that means 40% don’t. It’s not worth taking a risk that your co-workers or customers will find your “funny” email enjoyable, so don’t try.
After all, OOO automatic emails are still professional communications. As such, you should keep it to the point and don’t try to be informal.
Promises for Immediate Response
In an ideal world, you’d respond to all missed emails as soon as you’re back at work. However, that rarely happens. There are usually more important things happening in the office, and emails get pushed to one side.
So, don’t promise you’ll respond as soon as you get back. It sets an unrealistic expectation that you probably can’t keep. Your automatic emails should include some acknowledgement of response, though. We’ll cover some examples below so you know what to say.
Promises of Help
Similarly, don’t promise your colleagues will help immediately. After all, they have their own work to do, and adding your clients on top could add a lot of extra responsibility.
You should obviously provide contact information, and it’s worth making sure someone can deal with an emergency in your absence. But this isn’t the same as promising immediate help, which is something you can’t guarantee.
There’s no need to apologize for being away from your desk, particularly if you’re going on vacation. Instead, make sure you thank people in your automatic emails. This can either be for their initial email or for their patience. Both automatically make people more accommodating because the tone is positive and the message puts the responsibility on them.
Out Of Office Message Examples
Now that we have a good idea of what to do, let’s look at some out of office examples. It might help for you to draft up an out of office email template using these examples, so you can just copy and paste it every time you need it.
Thanks for your email. I’m away from my desk until [date] because [reason] and won’t be checking emails.
If your request is urgent, you can reach [person] at [email or phone number] in my absence.
I’ll respond to your message as quickly as possible once I’m back at work.
All the best.
I’m currently out of office for [reason]. I’m back in work on [date].
If your message is urgent, contact anyone from my department on [extension number] or speak to the department leader.
However, if your message can wait, I’ll respond as soon as I can once I’m in work.
Thanks in advance for your patience.
Out of Office but Checking Email
I’m currently out of office because [reason]. Although I’ll be back on [date], I’m still occasionally checking my work email account.
As such, I may be able to respond before returning to work. However, if you need assistance urgently, please contact [person] at [email or phone number].
Thanks for your understanding.
Use Textr Team to Better Communicate with Your Team
You can use Textr Team to send OOO messages to your team or customers to ensure better communication. You can set an out of office email template and use it whenever you want!
Along with that, Textr Team fosters better collaboration between team members thanks to its group messaging, shared contacts, and multiple phone numbers. You can also tag customers in messages for smoother communication.
But if you need to get started immediately, use Textr’s Send SMS Online tool. It’s free, and you don’t even need a mobile number to use it.
Download Textr Team today on desktop or mobile to start collaborating with your team more effectively.
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