The holidays are here and many people are taking much earned time off to spend with family and friends. Are you one of those who will be taking vacation to celebrate and relax? As you prepare to be out of the office for a couple of weeks be sure to run through the usual checklist: clear off your desk, leave notes for those covering your duties, extra water for the plants (in case they are forgotten by coworkers), change your voice mail, tie up any loose ends, and of course – don’t forget to set your “Out Of Office” email reply! Ah yes, the good ole OOO. It feels so good to create and turn on this message, freeing you from your email for at least a short while. It does not always feel so good to receive this message when you are looking for assistance from someone who has stepped away for some holiday R & R.
While it must be informative and include the basics (when will you return? Who will help in your absence)? It doesn’t have to be boring! People have been having fun with their voice mail messages for years, why not have a little fun with your out of office response? No, you can’t use your favorite song as a backdrop or pause after saying “hello” to trick people into thinking it is really you, but there are ways to be both helpful and humorous if you put a little effort into it.
Let’s start with the standard, always professional and to the point message. “I am out of the office until [enter date here]. If your email require immediate attention, please contact [enter person’s name here]. I will respond to your email on my return.” Blah Blah Blah. How about something with a little pizzazz?
Here are a couple of examples I found online:
- I am currently out of the office. I have a cell phone, but I will not be giving the number out. If you can guess the number, however, I will take your call.
- I will be out of the office and returning next week. I have incredibly easy access to a phone and email, but I assure you, it will not be used for work purposes.
- 404 Error: Marketing Manager not found.
A few suggestions as you prepare to craft your masterpiece:
- Find a meme or a meme generator and create a funny picture/caption that expresses your joy at being on vacation.
- Be festive! It is the holiday season after all.
- Consider using a quote from your favorite movie, character, or song.
- Be mindful of who will be reading this – and whether or not your boss has a sense of humor.
- Try to avoid confusing the reader (after all, it will only be more work for you upon your return if they are not able to get help they need in your absence).
- Don’t go overboard with the humor and try to use humor that is widely accepted and understood (you message will just look dumb if the majority of your audience doesn’t get it).
After you have had a little fun, you must be kind and include the basic if boring facts about when you will return most importantly who can help in the meantime. End your message with a sincere holiday wish for the recipient. No need to completely alienate those who are working while you are having fun. As noted in the message above, you too will be on the other end of an out of office message at some point soon!