Mastering your out of office message before jetting off on holidays means that when you finally land in sunnier climes, all you’ll need to worry about is topping up your SPF.
An effective out-of-office message is essential if you’re going to take the break from work that you deserve. Not only will it help alert people to your absence it will also help redirect any pressing work to your colleagues, and effectively help to manage the workload.
Why is this so important in 2023? Because we all struggle to switch off.
A YouGov survey identified that 60% of UK workers check their inboxes while on holiday, with 25% saying they check “very often”.
The situation is no better in the US, where an Insider poll found that over 66% of Americans check their work email at least “sometimes” while on vacation. And 21% said they “always” monitor their work email when they are away.
While a holiday is a great idea for lots of reasons–it broadens your horizons, allows you to explore a new location, sample local food and drink–time off is also essential to help prevent burnout.
And we’re in dire need of that, according to a global Future Forum survey, out of 10,243 full-time desk-based workers in six major economies, 42% reported burnout.
Additionally, research shows 63% of employees aren’t using up all of their vacation entitlements compared to 45% in 2022, meaning vacation deprivation is at an all-time high. You can read more about this growing trend on our partner TechSpot.
One solution to burnout and vacation deprivation is taking a holiday. And to ensure that you can completely switch off and get mental and physical space from your job (which has the net effect of making you happier to come back to it), you need to do some planning and prep before you go.
Plan for your downtime
In the weeks before you intend to be off, start to set the scene. Make sure everyone knows when you’ll be away, explain that you won’t be contactable through the period of your break, and prepare them well for your absence.
That could involve sending them an email to let them know, calling it out clearly in team meetings, blocking the time out in shared calendars and creating clear handover documents.
Re-assign any tasks you can and provide a really comprehensive out-of-office message with plenty of signposts for who to contact about specific responsibilities.
This should go a long way to helping both colleagues and clients leave you alone when you’re trying to unwind.
Now, what should you actually put in that out of office note? We’ve got some suggestions below.
1. For the person completely checking out
Bon voyage! You’re going away, and you’re completely leaving the office behind. This is the perfect auto-response if you won’t be checking your emails the entire trip.
Thanks for your email. Right now I am camping in the countryside with my family which means I will be completely switching off from all technology for a few days (gasp!).
To make sure your email doesn’t get lost in a sea of messages please resend it on September 20th. If your message is urgent you can contact [contact’s name] on [contact’s email].
Until then I’m off to be one with nature,
2. For the traditionalist
We’re not saying you’re boring but you do work in a fairly serious corporate environment. As a result, your out of office needs to be to the point with good signposts in terms of who to contact in your absence, and their details. But you also like to throw in a little pitch too, you cheeky thing.
I will be out of the office from [start date] until [end date].
If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact [contact’s name] at [contact’s email address]. Otherwise, I will respond to your emails as soon as possible when I return.
Or, if you’d just like to find out more about our amazing services then all you have to do is head over to our website.
3. For the fact-checker
Are you always entertaining your colleagues with useless facts? That doesn’t need to stop just because you’re going on holidays.
I am currently out of office on annual leave. I’ll get back to you straight away when I return on [end date]. If it’s urgent you can contact [contact’s name] on (contact’s email).
If it’s not important and you’re just a little bit bored then you can amuse yourself with these fun facts until I return.
- When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.
- Bananas are curved because they grow towards the sun.
- There are approximately 100,000 hairs on a human head.
- You can buy eel flavoured ice cream in Japan.
- A group of jellyfish is called a smack.
That should keep you occupied.
4. For the animal lover
Listen, who doesn’t love a little furry animal friend? If you want to put a smile on your colleague’s face then why not include a cute little GIF or photograph of some adorable animals. Go on, brighten their day.
I hate to break it to you, but I’m on annual leave until [end date] and will have limited access to my emails until then.
If the thought of me sight-seeing in Lisbon is making you feel a little blue here is a cat GIF to cheer you up.
Have a good week.
5. The ChatGPT-generated OOO message
With so much chat (sorry) about OpenAI’s chatbot platform ChatGTP recently amid fears generative AI will replace jobs, we decided to see if it could help us with ours. While we’re not entirely sure that this is an OOO message you’ll actually want to use, we give it 10/10 for creativity.
Subject: Escaping Reality—Literally!
Thanks for reaching out, but I’m afraid I’m currently off gallivanting through an alternate dimension where the laws of gravity are optional, and cats have mastered the art of interpretive dance. It’s a place where unicorns roam free, and cookies magically refill themselves (I’ve made it my mission to eat my way through them all).
I won’t be able to respond to your message immediately, as I’m busy chasing rainbows with a troupe of acrobatic squirrels. We’re working on perfecting our synchronized backflips, and let me tell you, it’s a tougher gig than I anticipated!
While I’m away, please refrain from summoning any dragons or opening any portals to the unknown—things tend to get a tad chaotic. If it’s urgent, try communicating through smoke signals or telepathy (I’m sure you’ve mastered one of those, right?).
For any truly pressing matters, I’ve left a trail of breadcrumbs that leads to my capable colleague, who will assist you in my absence. Just follow the scent of freshly baked cookies, and you’ll find them!
If all else fails, take a moment to appreciate the world around you. Gaze at the stars, hug a tree, or tell a terrible joke to a random stranger—trust me, it’ll make their day!
I’ll be back in the real world soon, so hold tight. Until then, let your imagination run wild, and keep the spirit of adventure alive!
Cheers, [Your Name] Professional Daydreamer Extraordinaire
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Our partner TechSpot asks, Are you suffering from vacation deprivation?