Out of office message

Out of Office Message: Quick Reminders

How is your Out of Office Message?

Writing your out of office message is often the last thing you do before going on holiday or going on a business trip. Even though you might be in a rush to leave, make sure you think about the following tips to ensure that you have an accurate, informative and professional message.

Writing emails that people read: Free eBook download5 Quick Out of Office Message tips

Keep your message short and simple

Nobody wants to read an essay about why you are away. Keep to the important facts and make it easy to read.

Make sure that your return date is correct

If you use the same message each time you are away, make sure you change the date. It sounds simple but I am sure that we have all read out of office messages that have the wrong date and know how useless it is.

Does “Out of the office until Monday” mean you will be back on Monday or Tuesday? To be really clear, write, “I will be back on Monday.”

Who to contact while you are away

If you give the name of a contact person who is standing in for you during your time away, remember to include their contact details, if this is appropriate.  A name on its own creates more work for the person trying to contact you.

Use the Spell check

If you have spelling mistakes in your message it will look lazy and can create an unprofessional image of you and your company.  Make sure you read through the message, spell check it and check the formatting is ok. If in doubt, send yourself an email after you have turned your out of office on. That way, you will see how your message will look to other people.

Turn it on/off 

Don’t forget to turn it on! Also, remember to turn your out of office message off when you come back, it can be very confusing for people if you forget.

Example of an Out of Office Message you could use


I am currently out of office and will be back at work on Monday 14th April 2014. Your email will not be forwarded or read during my absence.

If you have any questions or need urgent support with (xyz) while I am away, please contact:

 John Smith  at  0049 123 456 789  or  john.smith@yourcompany.com

Best regards,

Jonny West

Do you agree with all of these points? Do you have any other tips that you would like to share?  Let us know in the comments area below. Also, check out our professional writing seminars if you are interested in improving your business communication.


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2 replies
  1. Gary Anello
    Gary Anello says:

    This is a really nice post, Jonny. I had been looking around for a simple, clear explanation of what does and doesn’t need to be in an Out of Office message. The unclear use of “until” has, I am certain, led to real misunderstandings. Thanks for providing an alternative!

    The search has come about from reading quite a few Out of Office messages with some of the issues you mention, Jennie.

    Nice one!

  2. Jennie Wright
    Jennie Wright says:

    These are great tips Jonny – thanks! I also find that people forget to change dates so you see old months and sometimes the previous year on the message! Has this happened to anyone else?

    At some of the companies I’ve worked at we’ve been banned from adding names, email addresses and contact numbers to our out of office messages (in case this leads to cold calls). Is this normal for all companies or is this just me? It would be good to hear if others also have to follow this rule to see if the etiquette for out of office messages has changed or if it depends on the company you work for.

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