Save Your Inbox With These Out of Office Email Templates
June 25, 2018
By: Danny Bradbury
It’s summertime, and for many a well-earned vacation is just around the corner. For modern office workers, though, there’s a dark side to the summer sojourn: The mountain of email waiting for them when they get back. Senders that don’t realize you’re out of office may be frustrated when you don’t reply, leaving your inbox filled with flashing red alarms upon your return.
An automated out of office reply for colleagues and clients can keep business running smoothly while you’re away and make your return to work more manageable. Here’s how to write one.
First, the facts, and only the facts. Tell senders that you’re out of the office, and when you’ll be back. There is generally no need to distinguish between business trips and vacations.
Second, be sure that people know what to expect while you’re away. Be unambiguous about when they can expect a reply and don’t leave room for misinterpretation. Saying that you have limited access to email without clarifying what that means may leave them hoping for a response that may not come.
Finally, where possible you can include a delegate contact to handle queries while you’re away. This can help satisfy senders with tight deadlines and reduce your workload when you get back.
Here is an example:
Thank you for your email. I am out of the office, returning on [date]. I will not be checking my emails during this time but will deal with your request upon my return. If your request is urgent, please contact [alternative contact] for assistance.
This template serves a basic need but there are opportunities to add more value with additional content that can help you build client relationships or even generate leads. Is there a blog post or a company newsletter than you can point people to? If you’re traveling for business, will you be at a conference that the sender is also likely to be attending?
Consider adding variations on the following text to your mail where it makes sense, hyperlinking to resources where necessary:
Do you want regular tips and techniques about [your newsletter’s topic area]? Sign up to our newsletter for regular updates!
You can use your out of office message to drive senders to your company’s online assets.
Want some food for thought while I’m away? Read our latest blog post.
You can increase your click-through rates by promoting a specific piece of content. For example, someone at a recruitment or management consulting might link to an appropriate blog or LinkedIn post from their company like this:
While I’m away, consider taking our one-week management challenge by following these three steps to improve employee morale. Let me know how you did when I get back!
If you expect many of your senders to be at a popular industry event, you could use your out of office reply to promote it:
Will you be at [conference] from [date] to [date]? Stop by our booth and say hi!
By thoughtfully tailoring your out of office message, you can leave email senders reassured and satisfied. With a little imagination, you can leave them inspired and informed, too.
About the Author
Danny Bradbury has been writing about technology and business since 1989. His clients have included the Financial Times, the Guardian, and Canada's National Post.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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