“Out of office” messages usually cover temporary absences from work. If you are leaving the company, whether it is for a better position, a break from work, or a stint of unemployment, you should let people know you are “out of office” permanently.
Here are things to consider including in your final “out of office” message:
- A statement that you have left the company.
- One or more statements about who is handling your responsibilities now.
- Optional: A statement of how people can contact you personally.
- Optional: A brief statement about what you are doing now, as long as it is positive and is not seen as harmful to your former employer. You don’t want to be perceived as trying to lure clients or other employees away. You might write:
- “I am taking extended time off to spend time with family.”
- “I will be taking a career sabbatical to do some personal travel.”
- “I have accepted a new career opportunity.”
Different Reasons for Leaving an ‘Out of Office Permanently’ Letter
Aside from simply leaving the company you are working at, there may be other reasons why you need to inform your colleagues of your permanent absence. The most common permanent leave reasons are:
- Maternity leave
- Medical leave
- Annual leave
- Extended vacation
If you have left the company, you might write “[Name] Has Left the Company”. A more personal approach would be “Farewell From [Name].”
Think about the impression you want to leave with your readers. If you do not know your readers but want to introduce them to their new contacts who are replacing you, you might use a subject like this: “Your New Associates at XYZ Company.”
Leaving Contact Information
In your “out of office” message when leaving a company, you may want to leave your contact information so that people can get in touch with you in the future. Typically, personal contact information that you give coworkers is referred to as an alternative contact.
Although you are not required to leave any contact information, it is a great way to politely leave and offer assistance with anything as you transition from your position. It’s also a way to show that you value and want to maintain the relationships you’ve built with your colleagues.
Some personal contact examples that you could leave include:
- General social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
The contact information you provide can vary based on your level of comfort and norms of your industry. For example, professionals in finance professions may not wish to share their social media accounts whereas this may be generally common practice in other professions.
Things to Avoid
It’s best to avoid mentioning your reason for dismissal should this be the reason for your departure. Also, you should never portray your former employer in any kind of negative light (as tempting as it may be sometimes).
Here are four examples of a permanent “out of office” message:
As of August 1, I am no longer working at XYZ Company. If you have questions about leases, you can reach Jennifer Smith at [telephone] or [email]. For questions about insurance, please contact Rene Gomez at [email].
To get in touch with me, you may reach me at [email].
I am traveling for an extended period and have therefore left the company. Nigel Reed is now handling the areas I covered. You may reach Mr. Reed at [telephone] and [email].
Thank you for your email. As of January 21, I no longer work at [name of company] and, unfortunately, cannot answer your message.
Please feel free to direct all future inquiries to [first name, last name] at [email] or [phone]. He/she will be happy to help you. Your email will not be forwarded automatically.
[first and last name]
I hope these samples help you as you pack up your office, lab, or workbench and move on to your next adventure.
Related: For temporary Out of Office messages, have a look at this article: How to Write a Professional Out of Office Message.