It’s summer. It seems like everybody is going on vacation. Maybe you’re planning a vacation too.
And as you plan your own vacation and count down the days until it’s here, half the emails you send are probably getting autoreplied with out of office messages. Hey, it’s summer 😉
Sure, you can set a generic out of office message that just lets people know you’re gone and when you’ll be back. But that’s boring. And it’s forgettable. Which means it won’t stick out in anybody’s mind when they see it, so you’re missing an opportunity to make a meaningful first (or really, any) impression.
What should be in an out of office message?
An out of office message says more than “I’m not at my desk today.” Think of it like your voicemail greeting—it should provide all the information somebody contacting you might need. Information like:
- How long you’ll be out of the office (give a date range)
- Your name, title and phone number
- An email address and/or phone number for a colleague they can contact if they need to speak with somebody quickly
- Instructions for reaching you or a colleague immediately in the event of an emergency
It can also be helpful to include links to pages an emailer can check out in the interim, like your company’s About page or some FAQs about the services you provide. If a lot of your inquiries are people looking to book calls with you, include a link to your Calendly or whichever scheduling platform you use so they can grab a time slot with you when you get back.
Here’s a quick example:
Hey! Thank you for reaching out.
I’m currently on vacation and will be back in the office on September 2nd. If you need to speak with somebody before then, please contact COLLEAGUE at email@example.com. Otherwise, hang tight and I’ll get back to you on September 2nd.
Copywriter at Lindsay Kramer Copywriting
You can also include a brief explanation of why you’re out of the office. This one is totally your call; you don’t need to let the world know you’re scaling Everest or sitting poolside, sipping frozen margaritas, but it can be a good way to make it clear that you’re not—either by choice or because of tech limitations—checking emails.
These are just the basics of an out of office message. The bones, if you will. But a memorable out of office message is more than a bullet list; it’s a personalized touchpoint. As you write up your next vacation message, give these strategies a shot:
Don’t be afraid to be funny or punny (if it fits your brand)
You’re going on vacation! You’re getting out of your stuffy office and its stuffy routine to go have fun, so get the fun started with a funny, punny out of office message.
Maybe something like:
- Gone fishing. I’ll tell you all about my gigantic catch when I get back.
- I’m in Africa on safari. No, not the browser.
- Exploring my roots in Italy. I’ll give you all the dirt when I get back.
Take this advice with a grain of salt though…maybe even a whole salt rim. Use your judgment here, because if your brand doesn’t have room for punny or funny, stick with something that fits. Maybe you can have fun with something a little milder, like a quick mention that you’re cruising the Caribbean or that you’re looking forward to getting in touch with the sender when you’re re-charged and ready to get to work.
Make a reference to where you’re traveling
Places you’ve traveled are great conversation-starters. By mentioning where you went or what you’re doing on vacation, you’re giving yourself and everyone who gets your out of office message an easy ice breaker.
Try something like:
- I’m in Hawaii enjoying sand, surf, poi and rainforest hikes. I’m looking forward to chatting with you once I’m back from paradise.
- Greetings from Asbury Park!
- Currently, I’m somewhere along the Appalachian Trail. Depending on when you emailed, I could be in New York, could be in Virginia, could be completely lost and sending smoke signals for help. If I’m not back by [DATE] and you see smoke signals, come get me.
You can still use this strategy even if you’re not traveling. Maybe you’re taking a staycation this year—even if you work from home, you’re still out of the office.
Maybe try something like:
- Currently exploring all Clifton, New Jersey has to offer
- Greetings from the back porch! I might be home, but I’m out of the office until [DATE]
Use a gif!
No matter what you need to say, there’s a gif that says it perfectly.
So why not use a gif in your out of office message?
Maybe you’re going on a two-parter trip and you want to give a brief explanation why:
Or maybe you’re headed to Disney and want to share some of the magic:
Obviously, you aren’t going to use just a gif as your out of office message. But using one can make your message more fun and memorable. And if you’re at a loss for words, a gif can say exactly what you’re thinking.
What not to include in your out of office message
Remember to keep your out of office message fun, but not braggy. Stay away from messages along the lines of “I’m on vacation and you’re not” or “see you suckers when I get back!”
You want people to want to talk to you when you get back. So keep it light, make it engaging, and end it on a positive note that leaves the emailer looking forward to speaking with you once you get back.
Need words? I got ‘em.
Go enjoy your vacation!
Then when you come back, talk to me about copy. Brand copy, ad copy, email copy, blog copy…no matter where you need some words, I’ll make your brand sound its best.
Ready to get started? Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you get my out of office message, I’ll follow up as soon as I’m back from my latest adventure.