The Art of the Out-of-Office Message

"Out of Office" written in the sand
The good news: the email you sent got a record-time reply.

The bad news: there's no one on the other side of the "send" button.

Yes folks, it's vacation time; the season of MIA colleagues...robotic replies...the out-of-Office (OOO) message.

To Be Funny...or Not to be Funny

There's no shortage of roundups on what qualifies as a stellar triple-O. Bloggers seem to be torn on whether the best out-of-office messages are straightforward, "I'll be away until day/month;" or the more daring (if perhaps ill advised), "I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position." Frankly, we were a little surprised that one roundup felt it necessary to define what an out-of-office is (seems self explanatory). And we will avoid completely those that were too honest, too unfortunate, or too TMI.

How crafty you get probably depends a lot on what kind of biz you work in...and whether after vacation, you still want, you know...your job. the interest of vacation season, we offer our few tips: short seems preferable to novella; sales pitches seem ill advised; and for heaven's sake, be careful of limericks. But since we're not on vacation (sigh), we offer...

What a Few Out-of-Office Messages Might Look Like*

  • Out for a walk; no internet - Henry David Thoreau
  • Gone Fishing - Herman Melville
  • N_t _t  my  d_sk - Vanna White
  • Out in the field...give me a ring - Frodo
  • I'll be back - The Terminator
  • Trying to stop the feeling - Justin Timberlake
  • Gone for a ride - Paul Revere
  • Had to fly - Superman
  • Off to see the Wizard - Dorothy
  • Hung up...will swing back in soon - Spiderman
  • Could I BE any further from the office? - Chandler Bing

And finally...

In the interest of our multi-gen workforce:

  • Out of the office; if you need to reach me, leave a voice mail. Yes...on the phone. Some of us still listen to those - A Boomer
  • I'm not here...does anybody really care? - Gen X
  • Away 'til Tuesday...if this is my mom...get out of all your open browsers and hit restart - a Millennial
Happy Vacation Season!

*With thanks to Emily, Jessie, and the rest of my very smart colleagues
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
"Out of Office" written in the sand

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