Out of Office Etiquette
It’s summer time, which can only mean one thing….VACATION!!! (Hopefully you’ve read our blog last month about the importance of taking a summer vacation)! Now, you may be tempted to keep your phone in your pocket, ever-ready in case of a work emergency but….you MUST RESIST that temptation. Instead, set up an out-of-office reply for your email, kick back, and enjoy your break knowing your inbox won’t be flooded with unnecessary emails.
Here is the best way to set up your out of office alert:
First, thank the person for contacting you. This unexpected display of gratitude will catch them off guard and brighten their spirits. And if not, it’ll hopefully entice them to not email you again until you’re back in office.
After this, you can be as creative or boring as you want, but follow these basic guidelines for optimal out of office etiquette:
- Keep it short. Get to the point. Don’t be elaborate with unnecessary details.
- Indicate how long you’ll be out. Set an expectation of when you will be able to return their correspondence.
- Don’t be snarky. You’ll just undo all the goodwill you’ve established with that “thank you” at the beginning of your message. They might even send you additional emails out of revenge.
- Triple check for typos. In your haste to write your greeting, don’t forget to look for grammatical errors.
- Adjust your auto reply. If you are using Outlook, you can customize different messaging for different groups of people and set it up to alert the person just once (this is particularly helpful if team emails are sent regularly. It saves the person from getting multiple alerts to your absence).
Most importantly, at the end of your message, be sure to list the contact information for the person running things in your absence. Include their name, phone number, and email address. This way, follow-up emails aren’t sent to you, further crowding your inbox and increasing the likelihood that important messages will get lost in the deluge when you get back.
Here is a sample out-of-office message:
Thank you so much for your email! Unfortunately, I’m out of the office until Monday, July 6th. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Carl Stevens at 123-456-7890 or email@example.com, and he’ll get back to you ASAP.
Now you can enjoy your trip somewhat reassured you won’t be returning to a complete inbox nightmare. Oh, and remember to turn off your auto-reply when you get back.