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Out of Office Messages.. Should be simple, right?

I was recently assigned the monitoring duties for one of the generic type e-mailboxes for our office. You know, for example they say info@********.com

Well, it’s been a fascinating learning experience when it comes to the Out of Office replies posted. Really!

Here are some examples of what kind of messages folks use.. and I’m reflecting the actual font size and text wording I’ve come across.

1. I’m not in the office. Sorry I missed y ou. I’ll be back tomorrow.

2. I’m so sorry to have missed your email. I’m away on vacation (one I’ve been waiting for forever!..) from Sept 1 until the end of the month. If you need assistance, contact Jane at (number here).

3. I am out on maternity leave for the next 8 weeks. Me and my new little girl will be unable to view your email, so if you need assistance… please contact my manager at the main office at (number here)

4. I’m no longer working here full-time. If you need assistance, I am only here Tues afternoon and Friday morning. Contact (name here) for assistance.

5. Out of office 9/13-28

6. Kayleigh, (the owner of the mailbox) is no longer with us. Please contact our main office for an alternate contact. We are here to help you.

7. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to view your email while I’m out recuperating from surgery. I may have access. But just in case, if it is an emergency, call my cell at ***-***-****. Or for payroll questions contact:
For accounting questions, contact:

You get the idea… Certainly some companies have a template which they request employees to use when they will not be in office. But, let’s review the above.

No. 1- obviously..too small a font. Doesn’t have dates on it nor information on an alternate contact.
No. 2- Are they really sorry they missed our email? Doubt it. I understand the thought behind the comment- but the alternate use of ” Unfortunately, I’m out of the office today” doesn’t work either. I guess it is best to leave the emotions out of the message. And.. no one really wants to have it rubbed in that you are going on vacation for a month? At least this one provides an alternate contact.

Nos. 3 & 7- Too much information.

No. 4. Doesn’t sound so great. I now have a real concern about this person’s employment. Perhaps it would’ve been more professional to state: My work schedule has changed. I am now in the office during the following hours and will check emails only during this time. Sounds more professional and less guilt-trip.

No. 5.- A bit too brief. Is there an alternate contact available? Any hint if they will review their email at all while away?

No. 6. Though disappointing that Kaleigh is no longer with the company.. at least they are professional in providing an alternate contact.

No. 7.. A bit too much information as noted earlier, but also when is it appropriate to provide your cell number in your email? Is it a company cell? Is there an understanding with your company that when you are out — it is ok to contact you on your cell? What constitutes an emergency to you– may be a “Where is the toner? ” question from a colleague. It is very subjective.

While I am certain there are plenty of articles out in cyberspace about this very topic.. I thought I would post what I think would be the simplest template of all. This should be the exact same message on your voicemail box.
I am out of the office from : Day/Date/ Time to Day/Date/Time
I will/will not have access to review email during my absence. And/Or I will or will not be checking voicemail messages during my absence.
An alternate contact during my absence is: Name, Title, Telephone and Email.

Thank you.

Lastly, don’t forget to take down the rule or set the date to stop posting your Out of Office message once you have returned.

Simple right? Any additional thoughts on this?

About AdminRenegade

Storyteller, Fan of Leadership gurus, Coffee Lover, especially Dunkin' Donuts.. and most importantly- a fierce advocate -Providing a new philosophy on what it means to be an administrative professional in today's workplace.


One thought on “Out of Office Messages.. Should be simple, right?

  1. When I set the Out of Office Assistant, I also set up a task with a reminder to turn it off again. That way I don't forget.

    Posted by Jodith | September 21, 2009, 3:06 PM

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