As emails have become and will continue to be a priority of choice when it comes to communicating with client organizations, having a clear and succinct out-of-office (OOO) message is imperative in keeping activity and interactions fluid throughout a business engagement. An out-of-office message is an automated response notifying the sender that you will be away from your desk and will not be reading or responding to emails in a normal timely fashion.
This automated response also serves as a reminder to some that may have forgotten that you’d be taking some extended time off after you’ve told them in previous conversations you’d be doing so. Having a professional OOO is a must when it comes to keeping people aware of your plans and of course some details as to how they should proceed in your absence. This will also provide you with some peace and quiet during your time out of the office knowing that there’s been a plan put in place for coverage.
The following tips will ensure you can leave the office in the best of situations while enjoying your time away.
1) Avoid giving too much detail
Some may want to revert to a long-drawn-out explanation as to why they will be out of the office. It’s best to keep your OOO to the point and concise while providing the necessary information for all parties involved. No need to overload your contacts with too much “unnecessary” information. Keep it simple and direct to ensure that all parties involved are on the same page.
2) Provide exact dates when you will be out of the office
Be sure to provide the exact dates when you will be leaving the office as well as the day in which you will return. You want to be sure the expectations are set as to how long you will be out and unavailable. You also want to set expectations as to when the sender can expect a response and follow up once you return.
3) Include backup contact information
You should always have a backup point of contact while you’re OOO so the sender knows you’ve done your part in ensuring their needs will continue to be tended to when you’re away. This also provides you a sense of relief in knowing your team member will be assisting in the process. In doing this, please also be sure you’re committing your team member’s assistance with their permission while also being sure they are aware of any potential situations that may arise.
4) Avoid grammatical errors and typos
Double, if not, triple-check your OOO message. Your automated message could be forwarded to anyone, so it’s imperative the message is edited and formatted properly with no typos. Many times people are activating their OOO messaging quickly and in a rush to get an early jump on PTO without realizing the unprofessional message left behind. Take your time and be sure it’s what it needs to be.
5) Do not be too casual
In recent years some have taken a different approach to their OOO messaging by jokingly saying things like “I’ve managed to escape the office for a week and talk when I return” or “Sorry, I’ve left for vacation and will get back to you when I can.” That tone and lack of leaving secondary options to assist could be perceived as having no interest at all in assuring the sender of them being properly handled while you’re away. This could easily be misinterpreted and disliked by a potential client or prospect. You will never hear from them again.
The next time you’re planning to recharge your batteries with a trip of a lifetime or to just use a mental health day at the golf course or beach, follow these above tips and you should have no problem crafting a strong and professional OOO message. Enjoy your well-deserved PTO!
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