Remember these tips to craft a stellar “Out of the Office” message

In modern times, you’re not on vacation until you turn on your “Out of the Office” message and stop responding to emails. To make sure your coworkers and clients get a professional response from you while you are traveling, be mindful of the following guidelines.


  • Include the dates that you’ll be out of the office in your away message. And be correct.
  • Be extra formal and professional. Even if you’d frequently use slang or wittiness, remember this message is potentially going to anyone who emails you.
  • Offer an “emergency” contact or alternative contact who can get in touch with you, if needed.
  • Follow any company rules or policies for these kinds of “Out of the Office” messages.


  • Don’t tell people where you are going. Whether you’re travelling for work or vacation, just make it clear that you’re unavailable to respond to their message.
  • Don’t promise you’ll check mail sporadically. Just check it if you can, but don’t set the expectation that if someone’s message is important enough to you, you’ll respond.
  • Don’t add a bunch of information about specific projects because you never know who’ll email. (i.e. “If you are emailing about our IPO, it has been rescheduled to account for my absence.”)
  • Don’t overwhelm with too many contact options. Designate someone to play “email traffic controller” with your projects, so multiple people aren’t getting duplicative messages. (Offer to return the favor the next time this person travels.)
  • Don’t leave it on for days after you come back. This makes you look like you aren’t concerned with details.

Taking these tips into account allows you to actually relax and focus on yourself, your friends and your family because you know your work contacts will know how to move forward in your absence. If you’re super brave, take your work email off of your phone and tablet so you won’t be tempted to respond to emails. (Once you start working while on vacation, it is hard to stop!)

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