When you’re going to be away from your desk for an extended period of time during regular business hours (and you won’t be responding to emails), you should set up an out-of-office message. An out-of-office message is an auto-reply email that lets people know that you’re away. They help to keep people informed, and ensure that things run smoothly in your absence.

But what should you actually say in your out-of-office message? How much information should you provide? Should you try to be funny? Should you keep it formal? There are a lot of things to consider!

If you’ve ever felt unsure about how to write an out-of-office message, here are a few tips:

  • There are basically only two pieces of information that you need to include. First, you should clearly indicate the dates when you’ll be gone. Second, you should provide the name and contact information for someone who can provide assistance if it’s an urgent matter.
  • In addition to presenting the essential information, feel free to add a brief, friendly message like “Thanks for your message,” or “Looking forward to talking to you soon.”
  • Don’t try to be funny. Remember that this email is going to be sent to lots of random people, and you don’t know how they might react to your type of humor. Keep it brief and formal.
  • Don’t disclose too much information. It’s not necessary to go into detail about why you’ll be out of the office. You can write a few words about it, if you’d like (for example, “I have jury duty” or “I’m on sabbatical”). But it’s actually not necessary to provide any information at all.
  • Don’t make promises that you won’t be able to keep. For instance, don’t promise to get back to the person “right away” as soon as you return to the office. You might not be able to manage it!

Here’s an example of a good out-of-office message. Feel free to use it!

Thank you for your email! I’m currently out of the office, and will be back on [date]. I’ll reply to your email as soon as possible after my return. If this is an urgent matter, please contact [coworker’s name and job title] at [coworker’s email address or phone number].

Best, [your name]


Ellis, M. (2021, July 30). How to write an effective out-of-office message. Grammarly. Retrieved from: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/how-to-write-out-of-office-message/

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