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07
Apr
2023
Best Practices for Creating Out-of-Office Emails

Best Practices for Creating Out-of-Office Emails

If you are like me, chances are you check your email at least once daily. We send 333.2 billion emails every day, whether to correspond with coworkers, connect with our favorite brands, or send promotional offers and transaction summaries to customers¹. However, what if you are out of the office and therefore unable to respond to emails? For example, you may not be able to regularly check your email during a vacation to Key West or a trade show in Las Vegas, making it difficult for you to stay abreast of all the emails you receive. You need a quick and easy solution notifying senders of your absence and that you will return shortly. 

Enter out-of-office messages, or OOOs for short. OOOs give you and your senders much-needed peace of mind by letting them know not only that their email was received, but also that you will be unable to respond to their inquiries immediately². Additionally, OOOs let senders know exactly when you will return to your desk². In this article, we will highlight best practices for creating predictably awesome out-of-office emails. 

Before creating and sending an OOO message, you must decide how emails will be handled in your absence². For instance, you must consider whether you are checking emails periodically or not at all while you are away from the office². Also consider who can handle urgent requests in your place, as well as whether senders should forward copies of your OOO to a colleague². If you have designated a specific colleague to cover urgent email inquiries on your behalf, include their contact information in your message as outlined in the sample below². Forwarding emails to a coworker can be especially helpful during an extended absence, such as medical or parental leave². In this instance, you must certainly let users know whom they can contact until you return³. We will now discuss what to include – and what not to include – in your OOO message. 

(Image courtesy of https://www.yesware.com/blog/out-of-office-examples/)  

One best practice for crafting predictably awesome OOO emails is to include the specific date you plan to return². If you simply state that you will be away from your desk “until tomorrow morning,” this vague approach leaves senders guessing exactly when “tomorrow” is³. Rather, you must mention the exact date for your planned return to the office. For example, if you are attending a conference in Phoenix starting on Monday, December 5 and will not return to your desk until Monday, December 12, then include it in your message: “I will be out of the office until Monday, December 12.” This eliminates guesswork so you and your senders alike can enjoy much-needed peace of mind. 

Another best practice for creating OOO emails is to inform senders whether you will be accessing your email while absent². For instance, if you are going to the Poconos for a weeklong camping trip, you should notify senders that you will not have an internet connection and therefore be unable to check your email until returning to work. You must also include an estimated date by which senders can expect a response, which may or may not be the same as your planned return-to-office date, as outlined in the image below². 

(Image courtesy of https://www.harborcomputerservices.net/how-to-set-an-automatic-out-of-office-reply-in-outlook/)  

Keep in mind that while there is some information you should always include in your OOO emails, there is some you must exclude². Chances are you may be tempted to share details about your upcoming Western Caribbean cruise or family reunion in Myrtle Beach, for example². However, you should always take the most professional route and simply “describe your absence as a vacation,” without unnecessarily explaining where and why you are traveling². Additionally, consider that autoreplies are sent in response to any emails arriving in your inbox, regardless of sender². Therefore, you must also make sure to omit personal information such as your company name, phone number, title, or contact details from OOO messages². Why take the chance of leaving your email open to hackers during a vacation or business trip? 

Once you have finished drafting your OOO message, email it to yourself so you can catch any mistakes before using it in reply to other senders². Like any workplace communication, your OOO emails should be free of all typos and grammatical errors, so proofreading them is crucial². You do not want your senders to see a message with several key words misspelled, for example. Now that you understand these best practices, follow them so you can craft predictably awesome out-of-office email messages for any vacation, business trip, personal leave, or general office absence. Your colleagues and customers will thank you for it. 

Navitend can help you. Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today. 

Sources: 

¹Zippia. “75 Incredible Email Statistics [2022]: How Many Emails are Sent Per Day?” by Chris Kolmar. Retrieved from https://www.zippia.com/advice/how-many-emails-are-sent-per-day/. 

²Indeed. “7 Examples of Out of Office Messages (With Sample).” Retrieved from https://www.indeed.com/hire/c/info/7-examples-of-out-of-office-messages#:~:text=An%20effective%20out-of-office%20message%20typically%3A%201%20Includes%20a,the%20sender%20who%20to%20contact%20for%20urgent%20requests. 

³Resourceful Finance Pro. “Out-of-office messages: 10 outrageous ones and some helpful advice” by Jennifer Azara. Retrieved from https://www.resourcefulfinancepro.com/articles/out-of-office-email-messages/.  

View these articles on other best business practices

https://www.navitend.com/blog/article/best-practices-for-making-predictably-awesome-it-sales-calls

https://www.navitend.com/blog/article/best-practices-for-creating-contact-forms-on-your-website

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