You’ve just bought travel insurance, checked your packing list, and you’re finally ready for a long-awaited vacation.
Have you set up an out-of-office message?
Even though you have notified your coworkers of your absence, you never know who will try to reach out to you.
If people don’t know that you’re offline and contact you without getting a prompt response, they will wonder why you’re not getting back to them, and pile your inbox with follow-up emails.
The best way to avoid this and show your professionalism is to craft and set up an out-of-office message.
In this blog post, you’ll find out:
- What an out-of-office (OOO) message is,
- Why it matters, and
- How to craft an effective out-of-office message.
On top of that, we get you covered with OOO message templates and examples that you can use for inspiration.
So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
An out-of-office message is an auto-reply email that notifies people you’re currently unavailable.
It explains how long you’ll be offline and when they can expect your response. In addition, it might offer guidance on whom they can contact in the meantime.
Either way, an OOO message is a professional communication etiquette that helps you ensure the business keeps running smoothly when you’re away from work.
If you want to tell people you’re away from work in a simple and professional way, you can write a general OOO message that is suitable for any occasion.
The most important thing is to let them know whether you’ll have access to email. Let’s look at examples in both cases.
If you don’t want to or can’t check emails during your time off, make sure to consider the following examples.
Thank you for your message. I’m currently out of the office until June 2.
If you need urgent assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Rebecca Hilton at email@example.com. Otherwise, I’ll get back to you as soon as I return to work.
I’m away from work until July 13, with no access to email.
I’ll respond to your message when I’m back to work. Or, if you have an emergency, you can call me at 831-999-9999.
Thank you for reaching out. I’m currently out of the office until July 1.
I’ll check my email as quickly as I get back to work.
For any urgent queries, please contact my colleague Robert Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great week!”
Thanks for your email.
Unfortunately, I’m out of the office from June 26 to July 4.
If your question can’t wait, feel free to contact my colleague Patricia Miller at email@example.com. Otherwise, I’ll respond to your message as soon as I get back to work.
Thank you for your patience!
Thank you for your message. I’m away from the office until June 6.
I won’t be able to respond to emails until I come back to work, so in the case of an emergency, don’t hesitate to contact my assistant Liam Jameson at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be covering my work during my absence.
Thank you for understanding.
If you plan to check your inbox periodically in your absence, don’t forget to mention that in your out-of-office message, so people can expect your response before you return to work.
Let’s look at the examples.
I’m away from work until April 15. I plan to check my email periodically, but can’t promise I’ll get back to you before I return.
If you need immediate assistance, please contact Liam Jameson at email@example.com
I’m currently out of the office until November 2. I’ll be checking my email periodically, so I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.
If you have an emergency, you can call me at 844-949-2222.
Thanks for understanding,
Thank you for reaching out. I’m currently out of the office until July 1. As I’ll be checking my email periodically, I’ll respond to your email as soon as I can, but please expect a delay in my response.
Thanks for your patience!
Thanks for your email. I’ll be out of the office this week, so my response time will be delayed.
In case of an emergency, please contact my assistant Robert Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for understanding!
Thank you for your message. I’m out of the office until next Monday, May 10. I plan to check my email periodically, but there could be some delay in responding.
In case of an emergency, feel free to contact my colleague Patricia Miller at email@example.com.
Thanks for your patience.
Aside from general out-of-office messages, you can opt for a specific OOO message that includes the reason for your absence.
Let’s go over different types of OOO messages and look at some great examples you can use for inspiration.
According to studies about the importance of vacation, getting away has positive effects on our physical health and well-being.
On the other hand, research on the correlation between checking emails and stress has shown that people who don’t check their emails constantly experience less stress. Therefore, their well-being is better than those who do that more frequently.
All things considered, if you take a vacation to recharge your batteries, make sure to set up an out-of-office message, which helps you disconnect from work.
To set your work-life boundaries, consider the following example of a vacation out-of-office message.
I’m on vacation from June 29 to July 9.
I plan to unplug from email during that period, so I will respond as soon as I return.
In case your message can’t wait, please reach out to my assistant Steven Bates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your patience!
Even though some people might try to reach you while you’re on vacay, that doesn’t mean you should let them cross your boundaries.
Here’s how you can remind your colleagues that you’re currently unavailable in Pumble, a team communication app.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
If you plan to book a holiday, you should send a vacation request email to your boss. To learn more about why a vacation request email is crucial, and how to write an effective request, read our blog post:
Even though you might think that nobody will contact you during the holidays, people who don’t celebrate might try to reach you.
Let’s take a look at the example of an effective holiday OOO message.
Thank you for your email. I’m currently out of the office due to the Christmas holidays.
I’ll get back to you as soon as I return to work, on the 3rd of January. In the case of an emergency, you can reach me on my cell at 090-777-7778.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
If you want to find out how to say happy holidays in a formal email or message, we get you covered. Check our blog post:
Unlike planned vacation and holiday time off, medical leave is always unexpected.
Nevertheless, there is no excuse not to write and set up a medical leave out-of-office message ― it’s simple and takes only a few minutes.
In case of short sick leave, you can consider the following out-of-office messages for inspiration.
Unfortunately, I’m feeling sick today, so I’ll be out of the office till tomorrow. In case of an emergency, please contact my assistant Julia Clark at email@example.com.
Thanks for understanding,
I caught the flu this weekend, so I’m on medical leave this week.
I’ll get back to you on Monday, 5th of July.
If your message can’t wait, feel free to contact Julia Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org, as she is covering my work in the meantime.
Thanks for understanding!”
If you’re unsure of your return date, take a look at the following medical OOO message.
Unfortunately, I’m away from work due to a medical condition.
I’m not sure how long my recovery may take, so feel free to contact my colleague Adrian Smith at email@example.com.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
People sometimes feel guilty for taking sick leave. However, working while not feeling well makes things worse. If you’re looking for the best way to tell your boss that you’re not feeling well, make sure to read our blog post:
The length of maternity leave varies by country and company.
Regardless of whether you’re taking up 3 months or a year of maternity leave, a maternity “away message” is a professional way to let people know about your absence and whether they can expect your response.
So, let’s take a look at the example.
Thank you for reaching out.
I will be out of the office on maternity leave until October 1st.
I’ll be checking my email periodically. In case your message can’t wait, please contact my assistant Julia Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Otherwise, I’ll respond to you as soon as I can.
Fathers can take parental leave to take time off to care for their newborn child. But, before that, they should set up a parental leave out-of-office message.
Here’s an example of an effective parental leave out-of-office message.
Thank you for your message. I’m currently on parental leave and plan to return on October 10. I’ll be checking emails weekly, so I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
In case of an emergency, don’t hesitate to contact Patrick Anderson at email@example.com. He’s covering my work during my leave.
Thank you for understanding.
Marriage leave is mandatory in some countries, but typically, it depends on company policies.
If you’re taking a break from work to prepare for your wedding, don’t forget to craft a wedding OOO message despite your excitement.
Let’s look at the example.
Thanks for your message. I’m currently away from work until July 3 celebrating my wedding.
I’ll get back to you as soon as I return. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Andrea Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 333-434-444.
Have a great week!
Even though out-of-office messages typically cover temporary absences from work, you should also let people know when you’re out of the office permanently.
If you leave your company, take a look at the following OOO message example:
Thank you for your email.
As of May 10, I have ended my collaboration with ABC company.
Therefore, you can forward your query to Anna Taylor at email@example.com. In case you need to contact me personally, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 222-2323-333.
If you’re a digital nomad who plans to change location, make sure to set up an “away message” before you leave.
Let’s take a look at the example.
As you may know, I set out on my digital nomad journey less than a year ago.
Currently, I’m moving from Spain to Thailand, so I’ll be offline until June 16. I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.
Thanks for your patience.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
If you’re thinking about becoming a digital nomad, check out which countries currently have a digital nomad visa:
Even though your out-of-office messages should be professional, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add humor to your writing.
After all, humor brings people together and bridges differences.
So, let’s take a look at the example of a funny out-of-office message you can use for inspiration.
Thanks for your message. As I’m currently on vacay, the only way to reach out to me is to come to Miami Beach and try to find me under the palm trees.
Otherwise, please be patient until July 15 and when I get back. I promise I’ll be back.
Keep calm and carry on!
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
If you’re looking for fun(ny) email signs–offs, make sure to check our blog post:
Now that you’ve checked great examples of out-of-office messages, it’s a good time to go over some tips on how to write an effective “away message”.
So, let’s dive in!
The number 1 rule when writing an “away message” is to make it to the point.
Thus, make sure to include relevant details that serve the recipients and inform them how to proceed. The most important information you should include in your message is the following:
- The dates you’ll be gone,
- The person they can reach out to in case of an emergency, and
- The reason for your absence.
In fact, giving a reason for your absence is optional, but it helps you set firm work-life boundaries.
If you exclude this information, people may try to contact you by phone or your personal email.
It’s a good idea to let people know whether you’ll check your email or messages in the meantime, and if so, how often.
This way, you help them decide whether they can wait for your response or reach out to the secondary contact.
Once you write an out-of-office message, don’t forget to craft a straightforward subject line.
Here are some examples of effective subject lines to review:
“Out Of Office — Nicole Miller”
“Out of office from June 29 to July 2”
“On vacation until August 5”
“Off sick — Nicole Miller”
Whether you’re crafting an OOO message with a serious or humorous tone, avoid slang language.
Slang is considered unprofessional, especially in business correspondence.
On top of that, slang words can have multiple meanings, so some people might not understand what you want to tell them.
For instance, when writing a sick leave out-of-office message, instead of “I’ve got the lurgy”, you can simply say: “I’ve got sick”.
Even though you should include details about how accessible you’ll be during the absence, you should never over-promise.
If you’re not sure you’ll check your email during your medical leave, just tell recipients they should contact someone else before you get back to work.
Or, if you don’t want to take calls while on vacation, don’t include your phone number in your vacay away message.
Before writing an out-of-office note, make sure to choose a relevant person whom people can contact while you’re away.
Most importantly, ask your colleague for permission to include their contact information.
Revealing their information and encouraging people to contact them without their approval is considered unprofessional and inconsiderate.
Now that you know how to craft an effective out-of-office message, let’s go over the steps of setting up an automatic reply in Gmail.
- Select Settings, and click See all settings.
- Scroll down to the “Vacation responder” section.
- Select Vacation responder on.
- Write your message and set the dates.
- Before you click Save changes, select whether you want to send a response only to your contacts or people in your company.
Informing your colleagues that you’ll be away is typically less informal, but still, you should keep it professional.
In addition to setting up an email auto-responder, make sure to reach out to your coworkers before you take paid or unpaid leave.
But, that doesn’t mean that you have to message everyone separately. Luckily, team communication apps like Pumble make things much easier.
With channels, you can easily reach out to the relevant group of people ― so, you can easily inform all your team members simultaneously of your absence.
Plus, you can customize your status availability just in just a few clicks, so everyone from your workspace can see that you’re currently away.
To do so, you just need to follow these steps in Pumble:
- Navigate to the profile photo at the top right corner.
- Click on Update your status.
- In the Set status modal that appears, click on the status icon.
- Type in the status and choose the appropriate emoji.
Aside from setting up an autoresponder email message, you should consider recording a voicemail greeting before you go on leave.
If you know that your colleagues, business partners, or clients might try to reach out to you by phone, here are some examples of voicemail greetings you can use for inspiration.
“You’ve reached Anna Davis. I’ll be out of the office till April 1. Please leave your contact information and a message, and I’ll call you back when I get back. Thank you for calling.”
“Hi. It’s Robert Miller. Thanks for calling. I’m currently out of the office until March 11. I’ll be checking my voicemail messages periodically, so I’ll return your call as soon as I can. Have a great day!”
“Thanks for calling. You’ve reached Marry Anderson. I’ll be out of the office until Tuesday, July 15, so please leave a brief message and I’ll call you back as soon as I get back to work. If you need immediate assistance, please call my colleague Susan Campbell at 800-700-511.“
If you’re wondering whether crafting an OOO message is worth your time, the answer is ― an absolute yes.
Whether you’re on sick leave or heading out for vacation, writing an OOO message is a polite and professional way to make sure that everyone reaching out to you knows that you’re unavailable.
If you’re still not convinced writing and setting up an out-of-office message is worth your time, let’s take a look at the main reasons why you should do so before you go on your leave.
First of all, setting up an OOO message is a great way to convey a certain level of professionalism.
When you keep people informed of your absence, you show respect and help them work efficiently while you’re away.
On the other hand, if you leave people without an out-of-office message, they might think you’re ignoring them or you don’t see them as worthy of a prompt response.
Thus, setting up an out-of-office message is a polite and professional way to inform people you’re currently offline, and help them keep their work running smoothly while you’re away.
Picture this scenario.
You emailed your business partner to ask for marketing campaign reports. In the meantime, you went on vacation without setting up an out-of-office message.
After 5 days, you returned to work, checked your email, and saw that your business partner had sent you reports and two follow-up emails.
Just want to check whether you received campaign reports.”
And, another one:
Is everything okay? Please let me know if you found any problems with the reports. We can schedule a meeting to discuss everything.”
Therefore, from the perspective of people who contact you, leaving them without an explanation why you’re not answering would most likely be frustrating.
Furthermore, it can lead to misinterpretations ― they might think you’re not satisfied with their previous response, or, even worse, that you’re passive-aggressive.
💡 Pumble Pro Tip
Understanding different communication styles is critical for improving workplace communication. Learn more about the main characteristics of each of them in our article:
Setting up an out-of-office message is not just about the peace of your colleagues or business partners, but also about your smooth transition back to work.
After a relaxing vacation, the last thing you want to find in your inbox is a whole bunch of follow-up emails.
And, knowing that you need to reach out to everyone separately to explain you’ve just returned from vacation is a good way to drain your motivation to go back to work.
Furthermore, post-vacation depression — also known as post-vacation blues — is not a myth. So, if you find yourself struggling back at work, you’re not alone.
Thus, one of the most practical and easiest ways to help yourself prevent this type of depression is to set up an out-of-office message and minimize unnecessary noise.
An out-of-office (OOO) message is a polite and professional way to remove the guessing and inform people how to proceed during your absence.
On the other hand, this is a great way to set your work-life boundaries and recharge your internal batteries.
To make your OOO message effective, make sure to provide specific information ― dates and contact details of your colleague they can reach out to in your absence.
But, most importantly, never over-promise and tell people you’ll get back to them before you can or want to.
✉️ What about you? Do you typically write out-of-office messages? Do you have any tips you might add to our list?
Share your experience and tips at email@example.com and we may include your answers in this or future posts. And, if you liked this blog post and found it useful, share it with someone you think would also benefit from it.