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The Perfect Out-Of-Office Reply

You can probably relate to the experience of sending mail to one of your colleagues, only to be hit with a blunt out-of-office response. It’s rather annoying, especially in the festive season, when you’re trying to get some work done before you can leave for the holidays too.

But it might be that clients and colleagues will also be getting the same responses from you in a few days without your knowledge. Therefore, it helps to invest some effort into your out-of-office reply before setting off for the holidays. Here are some tips on designing the perfect message:

Be professional and respectful

Your out-of-office should sound professional and respectful, especially when addressing external correspondents who do not understand office culture in your organisation. Avoid overly graphic responses or humour that is borderline rude, as it reflects badly on you and your employer. The ideal response to clients is clear and concise while providing actionable information.

You can quote metaphors used in the organisation for responses that are limited to internal correspondence. Workmates are likely to understand and take the joke lightly as they are accustomed to the culture. Even then, you should still avoid content that offends some groups, such as women and minorities.

Cheer up the sender

However, there is no harm in being creative, as long as the humour cheers up the sender, rather than sounds like a callous snub. For instance, you can accompany your response with hilarious pop culture reference, such as from the Terminator:

“Thanks for the message, but I will be out till 15th Jan 2019. Just like the Terminator, I Will Be Back!”

You can also go for a funny but helpful response such as this one which plays on the typical error code you see if you click on a broken link:

“403-Forbidden Error: I am out of reach until 12th Jan 2019. Contact customer care for all enquiries.”

Looking for something more outside of the box? Check out Hubspot’s list of 15 funny out-of-office messages.

You may be eager to break for Christmas, but don’t lose a loyal customer or insult a colleague with a careless out-of-office message!