When you need to take a break from work for whatever reason – be it a vacation, conference, or family emergency – setting up an out–of–office message is essential. But with so many messages flooding our inboxes and phones daily, how can you make sure yours stands out?
Crafting the right tone and content will help ensure your message gets noticed. In this article, we'll share tips and best practices for writing a professional Out–of–Office text message that sets clear expectations, provides valuable information, and leaves a positive impression on your colleagues and clients.
What is an Out-of-Office Text Message?
Out–of–Office (OOO) text messages are sent automatically to your colleagues and clients when you're out of the office or otherwise occupied and unable to respond.
They inform them that you are out of the office and provide alternative ways to contact you or someone else in your absence, helping manage expectations, so important messages aren't missed.
Poorly crafted out–of–office (OOO) messages can leave a negative impression or even harm your professional reputation, so it's essential to craft an effective message. Knowing how to write an effective and professional OOO message is crucial for this reason.
On Which Occasions Should You Send an Out-of-Office Text Message?
When you're away from the office and unable to respond to work communications, sending an Out–of–Office (OOO) message is a great way to keep colleagues and clients in the loop.
These messages provide information about your absence, alternative points of contact while you're away (such as when on vacation, attending a conference, or taking leave), and even personal events such as weddings or funerals.
It is expected that colleagues, clients, and subscribers receive prompt responses and solutions to their issues. This is especially true for individuals in customer service, marketing, and communications roles.
OOO messages offer customers a courteous, brief, and professional explanation as to why you cannot reply immediately – ensuring they know their inquiries are valued even when there is no immediate response. These messages can be used if you are absent for a day, week, or several months.
What Should Be Included In An Out-of-Office Text Message?
When crafting an Out–of–Office message, it's essential to include details such as why you are away, the length of your absence, and who should be contacted in urgent situations.
You may also want to thank the person for their understanding and apologize for any inconvenience caused.
To conclude, you should include:
- Reasons for your absence
- How long you will be absent
- The date of your return
- Who to contact in an emergency or for immediate help
Here's an example:
“Greetings, I appreciate your correspondence.
Unfortunately, I'm currently out of the office from [date] to [date] for [reason].
Due to unforeseen circumstances, it won't be possible for me to reply immediately via email or pick up calls during this period. If there are pressing needs you wish me to address urgently, then do not hesitate in reaching out early on, notify [name of alternate contact person's name] instead so they can better assist you efficiently.
Once again, please accept my sincerest regrets while thanking you immensely for your comprehension accordingly.”
How To Write An Out-of-Office Text Message For Different Occasions?
Here are some examples of different types of Out–of–Office (OOO) messages and what to include in each:
Simple Out-of-Office Message
A simple Out–of–Office message typically includes the date of return and a concise explanation for being away.
Here's an example:
Please note that I'm out of the office and will not be accessible until the date mentioned above. For quick assistance on pressing matters, do feel free to write an email or call up our trusted team member - [colleague's name]. Here are their contact details for your reference:
Email address: [colleague's email]
Vacation Out-of-Office Message
When crafting your Out–of–Office message for a vacation, make sure to include the length of time you'll be away and who should be contacted in case of any urgent matters.
Here's an example:
Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I will be unavailable from [start date] until [end date] owing to my anticipated vacation. Please note that there might be a slight delay in responding to your emails during this period. However, if you have any pressing concerns or emergency matters, kindly direct them to my associate -[colleague's name]- who can be reached at the following email ([colleague's email]). It would help me out if any non-urgent matters wait until upon my return whereupon I will promptly reply.
Medical Leave Out-of-Office Message
This Out–of–Office message should make clear the reasons for absence, length of leave, and who to contact in case of an emergency.
Here's an example:
This message comes as a notification that I won't be able to attend the office until further notice owing to certain medical concerns. My expected return date is around [date], post-recovery period. Please do not hesitate if you require swift help; drop an e-mail addressed to my colleague named [colleague's name] who can be contacted at [colleague's email address]. Apologies for any inconvenience caused, and thank you for your unwavering support amidst such turbulent times.
Social Media Out-of-Office Message
Those types of messages have the purpose of notifying others about you taking a break from social media.
Here's an example:
Dear friend, I appreciate your inquiry. Please accept my sincere apologies as I am currently on hiatus from social media until [date] hence while it may take me a while longer than usual to respond at present. Nonetheless, your patience is highly valued and once again we will be connected soon.
Funny Out-of-Office Messages
When it comes to workplace communication, it's important to keep the tone appropriate and avoid anything considered offensive.
“I'm temporarily away, searching for greater understanding. If I don't come back in seven days, send chocolate please.”
Conference Out-of-Office Message
If you're headed to a conference or other professional engagement, make sure your colleagues are aware that you will be unavailable.
"Thank you for your email. I am currently attending a conference until [date]. I may have limited access to my email during this time but will do my best to respond as soon as possible upon my return."
Short Duration Out-of-Office Message
For short absences, an Out–of–Office message is a must. If you'll be away from work for no more than a few days, it's the perfect way to keep your colleagues informed.
"I will be out of the office for a short period from [date] to [date] but will return shortly. If you have any urgent matters, please contact [colleague's name and contact information]."
Out-of-Reach Area Out-of-Office Text Message
When in an area with limited phone and internet service, it's wise to set up an Out–of–Office message. This way your contacts know that you won't be able to respond until connectivity is restored.
"I am currently out of reach and unable to respond to emails. However, I will be back in the office on [date] and will respond to your message as soon as possible."
Out-of-Office But Checking Emails Message
This message is sent when you're away from the office but still monitoring your emails. Letting the recipient know that a response may not come right away, yet rest assured that they will be heard promptly.
"I am out of the office but checking my emails periodically. If your matter is urgent, please contact [colleague's name and contact information]. Otherwise, I will respond to your message as soon as possible."
Maternity or Paternity Leave Out-of-Office Message
When taking time off to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, it is appropriate to set up either a maternity leave or paternity leave, as well as an Out–of–Office message.
"Thank you for your email. I am currently on maternity/paternity leave and will not be able to respond until [date]. If your matter is urgent, please contact [colleague's name and contact information]."
Promotional Out-of-Office Message
Marketing and sales professionals may want to promote their content, website, blog, or services even when they're not available. To do so, they could add links to relevant products or resources in their out–of–office messages or their out-of-office email.
I appreciate you getting in touch. Although I am not available presently, allow me to introduce our latest (product). Please take a look at the details here (info where to look at it). If your inquiry is urgent, please contact our (person responsible) directly using this information: (contact information).
Lead-Generation Out-of-Office Message
When you're away from the office, a lead–generation out–of–office message can be an ideal way to keep generating leads for your business. This message should include a brief description of your business and a clear call to action for the recipient to contact you.
I appreciate you contacting me, however, I am unavailable at this time. If you require immediate help, please reach out to (the responsible person).
Do you know we conduct (product or service you want to promote)? Our respected specialists respond quickly to queries, so don't hesitate to get in touch.
To submit a question or enroll for our upcoming session, click here. Let me know if you need further assistance!”
Contact Sharing Out-of-Office Message
Those with multiple projects to manage or expecting a high influx of emails during their absence should consider listing several colleagues as alternative points of contact.
"Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office but I wanted to provide you with the requested contact information. [Contact's name and contact information]. If you need further assistance, please contact [colleague's name and contact information]."
Do And Don't on Sending Out of the Office Text Messages
However, there are certain etiquette guidelines to follow when drafting these messages to ensure they convey the right tone and information.
Be Clear and Concise
Let your Out–of–Office message be a concise and direct indicator of when you'll be away, when you're back in action, and who to contact while you're unavailable.
Use Appropriate Language
Your message should be composed with a professional and courteous tone. Refrain from using slang or colloquialisms, as this could give an unprofessional impression.
Establish a timeline for when they can anticipate a response from you; this will help them manage their expectations, and avoid any assumption of neglect.
Proofread your message
Proofread your message carefully – it's a reflection of you and your organization. Any errors or poor grammar will negatively impact the impression given.
Use a Professional Signature
Be sure to include your name, job title, and contact info in the signature line; it'll make it easier for the recipient to identify who they're speaking with and how to get in touch.
Thank the Recipient
Let them know that their understanding and initiative to reach out are much appreciated. This demonstrates your commitment to strengthening our relationship.
Set up Automated Responses
Opt for automated responses for your email and phone messages. This way, the person is aware that you are unavailable and when to expect a response.
Provide Too Much Personal Information
To maintain a professional demeanor and safeguard your security, refrain from including excessive personal information in your out–of–office message.
Humor can be a great way to build relationships, but when crafting an out–of–office message, it's best to err on the side of caution. Keep your tone professional and avoid jokes or puns as they may not come across well.
Steer clear of abbreviations and acronyms in your communication. These may not be understood by the recipient, leading to confusion.
Leave Out Important Details
Make sure you include all the essential information in your message, like the dates when you won't be at work and who to contact while you're away.
Use an Unprofessional Tone
Ensure your message conveys professionalism; any unbecoming behavior could be interpreted as disrespectful or dismissive.
Forget to Turn Off Notifications
Disable notifications on your phone and email while away from the office to ensure uninterrupted relaxation. You’re on vacation for a reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I include in my out-of-office message?
- Include the dates of your absence, the reason for it, and who to contact in your out–of–office message. You may also want to express appreciation for their email & let them know when they can expect a reply.
- Can I include humor in my out-of-office message?
- When crafting your out–of–office message, it's best to keep the tone professional and straightforward. Provide all necessary information while avoiding humor – this will ensure that expectations are set clearly.
- Should I include personal information in my out-of-office message?
- In your out–of–office message, refrain from including personal information such as home address or phone number. Instead, provide professional details like the job title and contact info of a colleague who can help in your absence.
- Should I proofread my out-of-office message?
- Your out–of–office message is a reflection of your professionalism, so make sure to double-check it for any spelling or grammar mistakes before activating it.
- Can I set up an automated response for my out-of-office message?
- Automated replies are a great way to ensure your contacts get an immediate response and know when they can expect a more comprehensive answer. Make sure all the necessary information is included in your automated message, and remember to update it if circumstances change.
To sum up, crafting a polished out–of–office message is essential for preserving an outstanding reputation among your colleagues, clients, and customers. It is important to set clear expectations about your availability, provide alternative contacts for urgent matters, and proofread your message for errors.
By following the dos and don'ts outlined above, you can ensure that your out–of–office message is compelling, clear, and respectful of your professional relationships. Avoiding humor or personal information will help you maintain a professional tone in the message; end with a signature to leave readers with the best impression of you.
Remember, your message represents your brand and can leave a lasting impression – make sure it's positive!