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How to Craft The Best Out-of-Office Message: 10 Examples

Learn how to write an effective out-of-office message to ensure time off with these 10 examples for different situations.

By Hannah Sheehan  •   January 4, 2024  •   7 min read

An out-of-office (OOO) message is important to foster a trusting, transparent, and productive workplace. Rather than leaving your coworkers waiting for your responses when you’re away, write a simple OOO message to let them know to either not expect a message right away, or to reach out to somebody else. 

What is an out-of-office message?

An out-of-office (OOO) message is an automatic reply sent to notify coworkers or any emails that you receive that you will not be reachable during your regular work hours. You may choose to set up an out-of-office message because of vacation time, an appointment, or a work conference that takes up a significant portion of your day.

Set your OOO message with peace of mind

Forget the stress of going offline. Fellow is an all in one meeting management software that keeps track of everything while you’re away. Your AI meeting copilot can record, transcribe, and summarize every meeting for you, so you can easily catch up on everything and return to work worry-free. Sign up today and get 300 free minutes of AI transcriptions!

7 things to consider when creating your out-of-office message

When writing a good out-of-office message, it’s important to include and consider the necessary information to make your message compelling and that it ensures your time off from work. Here are 7 details to consider for your OOO message:

1 The dates you’ll be gone

A good OOO message includes the days that you will be gone so that those waiting for your response know when they can expect a email reply or try reaching you if they choose to wait to follow up. Mentioning the dates you’ll be away is also helpful, so your coworkers can reschedule the meeting to when you’re available.

2 An alternative contact

It’s important to include an alternate way of contacting you, if you choose to, or an alternate person where the emailer can coordinate with. Putting an alternative contact into your OOO message will give those who need immediate assistance another way to get help.

3 Why you’re gone

According to Gielan, “sharing a small piece of information about you, your trip, or your company’s product or service can serve to deepen a business relationship or the connection a client feels toward your company.” This small piece of information doesn’t have to be an overshare, but a basic explanation of why you’re gone helps you stay connected with your colleagues and clients.

4 The subject line

The subject line of your out-of-office email will showcase what the message is about. It’s important to make a clear and concise subject line for your message so that people will click on it. If the subject line does not reflect what your message is about, your message may get ignored, and people will not see that you’re unavailable.

Something simple like “out of office from [leave date] to [return date]” will immediately show people that you’re going to be unavailable and hint at them to click the message for more information (like who to contact, the exact dates, etc.).

5 Platforms outside of email

While email is the most common type of communication for workplace messaging, it’s also important to consider putting your out-of-office message on other messaging platforms that you frequently use. For example, you can change your status on Slack and on Google Calendar to avoid any unnecessary messages or missed meetings. Doing so will help remind coworkers that you’re unreachable from multiple platforms in case they missed the message on another. 

6 Writing the message in advance

If you wait until the last minute to write your out-of-office message, you’ll be rushed and more forgetful. So, take your time to write a good OOO message a few days before you leave. Then, when it’s time to set the auto-response message, all you have to do is ensure all the information is up to date and press send!

7 Include your personality

An out of office message doesn’t have to be extremely formal. Feel free to be creative within your response, add humour, or share whatever you feel is right. If you’d like to stay connected while you are away, add your LinkedIn profile. If you’re away on a sunny vacation, add a picture of the beach. It’s ok to make it fun!

Apply a customizable template to your meetings before you’re out-of-office

Ensure every meeting is structured and productive with Fellow’s Weekly Team Sync and Project Check In meeting templates. Having a template for recurring meetings means you don’t have to worry about how your meetings will go if you can’t attend.

What to avoid in your out-of-office message

1 Giving too much detail

While some detail about where you’re going can maintain connections or provide context, too much detail can feel like an overshare. Don’t feel obligated to go into great detail about your whereabouts, especially if your OOO message is shared with clients. For example, say you are away on a family vacation or at a conference.

2 Committing to a response date

Plans change all the time. Maybe you’re on vacation and your flight got delayed, or the conference you’re attending went overtime. Whatever the delay, committing to a response date will make people awaiting your reply count on you to get back to them when you said you would. 

Committing to a response date and not honouring it can be harmful, because if the person waiting has a deadline and you didn’t reply when you said you would, they could miss their deadline. Or, people may begin to worry or become frustrated if you don’t reply when you said you would. So, to avoid any frustration, you can mention the date that you’ll be back to the office or online and include a message saying, “please allow me time to get back to you upon my return as I get caught up on missed work.”

3 Including typos

Typos in workplace writing are unprofessional. They can also convey misinformation and cause confusion. For example, if there is a typo in the dates you’ll be gone, meetings may be scheduled incorrectly. So, re-read and edit your work, even if it’s just an out of office message. 

4 Offering someone else’s assistance without consent

As mentioned, it’s good to include an alternative contact for people to reach while you’re away. However, it’s important to remember to get consent from that person before redirecting people their way. Without getting heads-up or giving their consent, the person may feel frustrated or overwhelmed with incoming messages. 

The best out-of-office message examples 

Pro tip: save these examples as OOO message templates to use during your next leave!

1 Basic OOO message

Hello,

I am out of office from [leave date] to [return date] with limited/no access to emails. Please contact [name, job title, email] for immediate assistance while I’m away. If your message is not urgent, I will get back to you shortly upon returning.

Best regards,

[name]

2 Vacation message

Hello,

I am out of office on vacation from [leave date] to [return date]. During this time, I will be disconnected from my email and enjoying the sun instead. Please contact [name, job title, email] if your message needs immediate attention. If this message does not require immediate attention, I look forward to getting back to you upon my return. 

Sincerely, 

[name] 

3 Internal message

Hi team,

Friendly reminder that I am out of office from [leave date] to [return date]. During this time I will be disconnected from my email. Please contact [name, job title, email] if you need immediate attention. I look forward to getting back to you upon my return. 

Thank you, 

[name] 

4 Out of reach message

Hello,

I am out of office with no access to emails from [leave date] to [return date]. During this time, please contact [name, job title, email] for any immediate assistance. 

Have a great day, 

[name] 

5 Maternity/paternity leave message

Hello,

If you’re reading this, I’m a [mom or dad]! I am out of office from [leave date] to [return date] on [maternity/paternity] leave. In the meantime, please contact [name, job title, email], who will be covering for me while I’m away. I look forward to talking to you (and sharing baby pictures!) when I return. 

Best,

[name] 

6 Medical leave message

Hello,

I am out of office from [leave date] to [return date] on medical leave. I will have limited/no access to messages during this time. Please contact [name, job title, email], who will be covering for me while I’m away. 

Thank you for your understanding,

[name] 

7 Conference/event message

Hello, 

I am attending [name of conference] today, so I will be in and out of contact throughout the day. Please contact [name, job title, email] if your message needs immediate attention. If not, I will get back to you shortly. And if you are at [name of conference], feel free to say hello! 

Thank you,

[name] 

8 Holiday message

Greetings!

I will not be responding to messages from [leave date] to [return date] while our offices are closed for the holidays. Please feel free to contact me after the holidays or await a reply when I return. If you need to get a hold of me for an emergency, you can contact me at [cell phone number].

Happy Holidays,

[name]

9Funny message

Hello!

I’m currently out of office on a critical mission to find the world’s best coffee until [return date]. For any urgent matters, please reach out to [name, job title, email]. I’ll get back to you once I’m fully caffeinated.

Best,

[name]

10Out of office but checking emails message

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I am currently out of office from [leave date], but will be checking my inbox periodically. Please expect a slower response time to emails during this time.

Please contact [name, job title, email] if you need immediate assistance. I will be back in the office and fully available from [return date].

Regards,

[name]

Never miss out with Fellow

Being out of office is more than just setting a message and forgetting about what’s going to go on while you’re away. It can be difficult to fully disconnect from work knowing you’ll have to catch up on everything when you get back. With Fellow, you can rest easy knowing nothing will fall through the cracks while you’re out. It covers the before, during, and after the meeting.

Setting up Fellow’s pre meeting reminders before the meeting will ensure every participant is reminded to contribute to the agenda before the meeting starts. You can even toggle specific sections of the agenda to require specific participants to add to it. During the meeting Fellow’s AI meeting copilot can be set to record, transcribe, and summarize each event automatically, so no details get missed and attendees can focus on the discussion. After the meeting ends, your AI meeting copilot will generate a searchable transcript of the discussion, identify decisions, and automatically assign any action items that were mentioned during the call. Each participant, whether they were present or not, will get an email linking to everything you need all in one place.

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