Guide: Out Of Office Email Messages (With Examples)
Updated 5 January 2023
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An out of office email (also called an OOO message) is an automated response that immediately notifies senders that you are currently away from your workspace and will not be reading or responding to emails as quickly as usual. This message is sent as an automatic response to any message that enters your inbox.
An email is a primary form of communication in the workplace for colleagues and clients alike. If you are unable to respond to emails because you are taking time off, attending a work event or away from your computer for any other reason, it is important to set up an out of office message. When people send emails, they often expect a timely response. Setting up an out of office message helps keep people informed and prepares them for how to proceed in your absence.
Here are several tips and examples to help you craft a professional out of office message.
When Should I Use An Out Of Office Message?
It is proper etiquette to set up an out of office reply any time you are unable to check emails during regular work hours. Whether you are going on a vacation for several weeks or just busy for the day while attending an offsite meeting or industry event, an OOO message is appropriate.
Even if you have already announced you will be out of office, people become busy and may forget you are unavailable. An automated response can serve as a helpful reminder to anyone attempting to get in touch with you while you are away. It can also be beneficial for you, allowing you to better focus your full attention on whatever has taken you away from the workplace.
A well-crafted out of office email accomplishes the following:
It provides instruction so co-workers or clients are not waiting for you to address a time-sensitive question or concern.
It lets clients or any other outside contacts know you are not ignoring their messages.
It sets clear expectations around when you will be able to respond.
It is also a good idea to set up an OOO message on your personal email account—especially if you are in the middle of a job search and expecting to hear back from employers. Without an automated message, employers may assume your lack of response means you are no longer interested in the opportunity.
Related: Verbal Communication Examples in the Workplace (With Tips)
What Should I Include In My Out Of Office Reply?
The most effective OOO emails include the following:
A friendly, professional greeting
How long you will be away
When a sender can expect a response
Who to contact in the event of an emergency
Provide instruction for tasks you commonly perform
Why you are away (optional)
Let us take a closer look at each of these out of office email elements to refer back to as you write your own.
Related: How To Set Up Rules In Outlook (With Types And Tips)
1. A friendly, professional greeting
Always include a greeting, just as you would in any other email message. For example, you might start with something like:
Hello! Thank you for your message.
2. How long you will be away
Be as specific as possible to make sure the sender clearly understands how long you will be unavailable. For example:
I will be out of the office and unable to check email all day Monday, October 8 and Tuesday, October 9.
3. When a sender can expect a response
Give the sender clear expectations about your plans once you return. If you will be gone for a lengthy period of time and anticipate returning to hundreds of messages, you might add language to ensure the sender does not expect to hear from you immediately after your return. For example:
I will return on October 10 and will address emails as quickly as possible, in the order in which they were received.
4. Who to contact in the event of an emergency
If your sender’s message is urgent, they may not be able to wait until you have returned to take action. Always include contact information for a manager or colleague who is comfortable handling any emergency correspondences in your absence. For example:
If this message is an emergency, please contact my fellow account manager Reena Kumar at email@example.com or 7799123456.
5. Provide instruction for tasks you commonly perform
If there is a certain task, report or answer you will be expected to provide on a recurring basis, include information for where the recipient can get their information. You might decide to delegate this task to a colleague or manager or let the person reaching out know you will complete the task on a certain day when you are able to. For example:
If you are reaching out about this week’s inventory report, please reach out to my colleague at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related: How To Think Out Of The Box In 7 Steps (With Tips)
6. Why you are away (optional)
Sometimes it can be helpful to include information about why you are away from the office to set proper expectations. For example, if you are still working but traveling on business outside the country, you may not be able to access email during the same working hours. For example:
I am currently out of the country on business. Please expect a delay in responses as my internet connection may be inconsistent.
Out Of Office Message Examples
Thank you for your email! I am currently out of office on vacation with my family from June 11 – June 15 and will not have access to email during that time. I will be returning to the office on Monday, June 18 and will be sure to respond to your message as quickly as possible.
If you need assistance in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to my manager, Shyam Saxena at email@example.com or 1122123456 ext. 567.
Have a great week.
Senior Account Manager
Thank you for your message. I am out of the country on business until April 30. I will be checking emails intermittently but please expect a delay in response up to 24 hours.
If this is an emergency, please contact my colleague, Nadia Amin (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If this is a technical issue, please contact tech support by calling 91-00-123-4567.
Thank you for your patience,
The process for setting up automated responses varies by email application but is generally quick and easy. By using these tips and examples, you can craft a professional out-of-office message that provides senders the information they need.
How To Set Up Rules In Outlook (With Types And Tips)
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.
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