Disclaimer: This post was originally published on our UK partner’s site.
You’ve been looking forward to this moment for weeks — hard earned holiday time away from grueling hours of work. Your itinerary is set, your bag is packed and there is only one more thing standing between you and your time off: your out of office email. While this basic practice seems like a simple courtesy to check off your to-do list, there is a way to do it… and several ways not to.
You may think simple “I’m away” messaging is sufficient, but there are clever alternatives that may just help you save time working through your emails upon your return or even increase engagement with your clientele while you’re away.
Let’s rethink the way we do diplomatic out of office emails and how we take advantage of this opportunity.
Before we start, here are some quick links to step-by-step instructions to help set up your automated out of office response:
Do… include contact information for the best point person while you’re away. Make sure to note that it is only for urgent matters — you don’t want to inundate your colleague or manager with unnecessary work while you’re away.
Don’t… forget to specify when you’ll be back in office so the person reaching out has a timeline for your reply.
Here are examples of basic (and professional) out of office autoresponder email messages.
Do… include a link to useful information. The person reaching out to you wants to hear from you, so take advantage of the opportunity. Link to the FAQs on your website, an educational white paper or an enlightening blog post on your site.
Don’t… neglect the value of your social channels. If you don’t have a resource to share, encourage the sender to engage with your social pages to learn more about your business. If your social media profiles are personal, include links to your business’s brand.
Do… take the opportunity to be personable. Include a fun fact about your company, the city your company resides or something interesting about your role. It shows your personality and your passion for your work in a simple way.
Don’t… be too casual. While many of the people emailing are most likely established contacts, you have no way of knowing if someone important will reach out while you’re away. A casual sign off about how you’re crushing sangria on the beach or a GIF of a funny moment on a plane symbolising your absence may strike the wrong cord with an acquaintance.
Do… take advantage of an opportunity to network while you’re out of office. This is especially important if you’re away attending a conference. After you include the basic information, include a quick note that names the conference you’re attending and let others know you’d love to take a few minutes to connect with them while you’re there.
Don’t… pile all these strategies into one email. They’ll most certainly get lost amongst each other. Pick and choose which are most effective for your business/role or your reason for being out of office.