If you're planning to be out of the office for an extended period of time, it's important to set up an out of office message. An out of office message is an automated reply that lets people know that you're away from your desk and unable to respond to emails or phone calls. An effective out of office message can help you manage expectations, keep people informed, and maintain professional relationships. Here's how to write an effective out of office message that gets the job done.
Tips for writing an effective out of office message
Be clear and explicitly say you’ll be out
Be clear about the fact that you're out of the office and unable to respond to emails or phone calls. This helps to manage expectations and ensures that people don't get frustrated when they don't hear back from you.
Provide the dates that you'll be out of the office
Make sure to include the dates that you'll be out of the office. This helps to give people a sense of when they can expect to hear back from you, and helps them to plan their own schedules accordingly.
Give a reason for your absence (optional)
If you feel comfortable doing so, you can include a brief explanation of why you're out of the office. This can help to put people's minds at ease and prevent them from worrying about why you're not responding.
Provide alternative contacts
If there are other people who can help the person who's trying to contact you, make sure to provide their contact information. This can include colleagues, assistants, or other team members who are available to answer questions or provide assistance.
Let people know when they can expect to hear back from you
Be clear about when people can expect to hear back from you. This can help to manage expectations and ensure that people don't get frustrated when they don't hear back from you right away.
End with a friendly closing
Close your out of office message with a friendly closing, such as "Best regards" or "Thanks for understanding". This helps to maintain a positive tone and ensures that people feel appreciated.
Customize your out of office message for different audiences
Consider customizing your out of office message for different audiences. For example, you may want to have a different message for clients than you do for colleagues.
Avoid providing too much personal information
While it's okay to provide a brief explanation of why you're out of the office, you should avoid providing too much personal information. This can be seen as unprofessional and may make people uncomfortable.
Keep your out of office message concise
Keep your out of office message concise and to the point. This ensures that people can quickly and easily understand the information that you're providing, and helps to avoid confusion or misunderstandings.
Test your out of office message
Before you set up your out of office message, make sure to test it to ensure that it's working properly. This can help to avoid technical issues or errors that may prevent people from receiving your message.
Update your voicemail message
If you have a voicemail box, make sure to update your message to let people know that you're out of the office. This can help to ensure that people don't leave messages that you won't be able to respond to.
Set expectations for when you'll be back in the office
If you know when you'll be back in the office, let people know. This can help them plan for when they can expect a response from you. If you're not sure when you'll be back, provide an approximate date or let them know that you'll follow up with them once you know more.
Use a professional tone
While it's important to be friendly in your out of office message, it's also important to maintain a professional tone. Avoid using overly casual language or slang, and make sure that your message reflects your professional image.
Proofread your message
Before you set up your out of office message, make sure to proofread it for spelling and grammar errors. A message that's riddled with mistakes can make you look unprofessional and can undermine the effectiveness of your message.
An effective out of office message is an important tool for managing expectations, maintaining professional relationships, and keeping people informed. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can create a message that reflects your professionalism and ensures that people receive the information they need. Remember to customize your message for different audiences, keep it concise, and maintain a professional tone.