Sunscreen? Check. Bathing suit? Check. Latest Grisham novel to read on the beach? Check. Created and activated the perfect professional out of office autoresponder email message? Umm…
If you think you can just throw something together on your phone while boarding the plane, think again. Business communication etiquette never takes a vacation. Therefore, writing an out of office message should be added to your vacation to-do list. Although it only takes a few minutes to complete this simple task, the benefits will make a lasting impression. Use the following tips and templates to create an effective and friendly professional out of office message.
Professional Out of Office Message
Why all the fuss? Because your message will speak for you while you’re away from the office. Thus, it needs to be effective in conveying necessary information. It should be positive, friendly, but not overly casual. And it can even direct the sender to your website, a specific product, a newsletter, or similar marketing formats.
The point: Your out of office message should still be working even if you’re not.
What to Include
There are a few key elements that a professional out of office message should have. These include:
- A thank you for their email
- The specific dates you will be unavailable
- Who to contact in your place (include their contact information)
- The date you will return to work
- For an extended leave (g., maternity leave, medical leave, moving, etc.), you have the option of providing a reason for your absence. However, this is optional, and you should avoid giving specific or personal details
How to Write a Professional Out of Office Message
You’ve worked hard to build a fine reputation in the business world. Don’t ruin it by sending the wrong message.
Here’s how to write a professional out of office message. Your goal is to strike the perfect balance of having a friendly tone and providing useful information while maintaining business writing etiquette. Check out the following examples that you can customize for your next out of office message:
Thank you for your email. I’m currently out of the office and will be back on (insert date).
If you need immediate assistance, please contact my assistant, Jane Smith, at (insert Jane’s email or phone number).
Example 2: If you plan to take your work cell phone with you and return calls, you could use this:
Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office from (insert dates) at a training seminar.
If you need immediate assistance, please contact me on my cell phone at (insert number). I will do my best to respond to your call.
Example 3: If you are going to be on a deserted island and hoping to be completely off-grid, try this:
Thank you for your email. I’m currently out of the office and have no access to my email. I will be back in the office on (insert return date) and look forward to talking with you then.
Example 4: If your return date is murky, you could use this option:
Thank you for your email. I am out of the office for the next two weeks. If you need immediate assistance, please contact (name and contact information).
Business-Specific Out of Office Messages
When you want to keep business moving forward, you can use a business-specific out of office message. You can start with the following templates and then customize accordingly. For example:
I’m currently out of the office until (insert date). If you emailed me to ask for more information about (insert product or service), I hope this (link, eBook, infographic, etc.) will help. I’ll be happy to answer any additional questions upon my return.
Here’s another variation:
I’m out of the office from (insert dates) and unable to respond to your email until my return. Meanwhile, I think you’ll enjoy checking out the FAQ section of our website (insert link) to address any questions you may have.
I look forward to connecting with you soon.
Out of Office Messages to Avoid Using
Sure, you’re excited about your vacation—kicking back and doing absolutely nothing. But, for the customers, clients, and coworkers that are still working, your autoresponder email should never convey the I’m-on-vacation-and-couldn’t-care-less-about-what-you-need attitude. You may be on vacation, but your professionalism shouldn’t be.
As you consider the following examples, notice the overly casual tone and lack of useful information. Avoid using anything that sounds like this:
“I’m sitting on a beach in paradise with a drink in my hand so stop bothering me.”
“I am currently out of the office and most likely hungover. Have a great workweek without me.”
When it’s time to hit the road to enjoy some well-deserved time off, remember to take a few minutes to write an appropriate out of office message. Because business communication never stops working.