The Email Signature Handbook
Toggle navigation
  1. The Email Signature Handbook
  2. Advanced Guides
  3. Out of Office Templates

Out of Office Templates

According to Lifewire, 62.86% of business professionals prefer using email to communicate for business purposes. Factor that in with an average office (white collar) worker sending 40 emails a day, and you can clearly see that email is still the main communication method used in all manner of companies.

However, it is not always possible for workers to answer every email they receive in a timely fashion. People go on vacation, can get sick, or have other commitments that mean they can’t or won’t be able to answer their emails. If you’re ever unable to respond to emails, it’s important to set up an out of office (OOO) message.

What is an out of office message?

An out of office message is an automated response that lets a sender know you are away from your workstation, so will not be reading or responding to emails as quickly as usual. It is used to tell the sender the following important facts:

  1. The reason why you are not available - the most common are:
    • Annual leave/vacations
    • Sickness
    • Off-site training
    • Work events e.g. exhibitions, conferences, etc.
    • Working from a different location
  2. When a sender can expect a response - providing a realistic timeframe for a response is crucial for setting a sender’s expectations. If you’re not going to be looking at your emails for two weeks, it’s important to say so. On the other hand, if you are checking your emails occasionally, let senders know that your response will take longer than normal.
  3. How long you’ll be away for and when you will return - as a rule, this should be a specific date. However, this may not always be possible, particularly if you’re off sick.
  4. Who to contact in your absence - sometimes an email enquiry is urgent. Therefore, you should always include contact details of a colleague who can help while you’re away. However, you should make sure your colleague is aware of this in advance.

Additional points to remember

An out of office message should include a professional, but friendly, greeting. It can also state if the sender’s email will be forwarded on or viewed by other colleagues. It is also sensible to proofread your message copy, as typos will make you look unprofessional.

However, to be truly effective, an automated email response should always use professional language. It’s important to remember that it will be seen by anyone that sends you an email; it is not the place for jokes, misplaced humor or surreal comments.

We would also recommend that you include a corporate email signature in your out of office message. This will showcase your brand, make you look more professional, and can potentially showcase additional marketing content.

Out of office templates

The below templates can be used for a variety of different circumstances. All you need to do is tailor them to your specific needs.

Out of office annual leave/vacation templates

The most common example of an out of office message, this is often the last thing many do before going on holiday. You don’t need to include details such as where you’ll be going and if you’ll be out of the country. The most important point is that you won’t be responding to emails during this time.

Hi there,

Thank you for your message.

I am currently out of the office on annual leave. I will be returning to the office on [DATE] and will not have access to my emails during this time.

If your message is urgent, please contact [CONTACT NAME] on [EMAIL ADDRESS/PHONE NUMBER] who will be able to assist you. Otherwise, I will respond promptly when I return.

Kind regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Hi,

I am currently on annual leave with no access to my emails. I will be back at work on [DATE].

In my absence, please contact [NAME] at [EMAIL ADDRESS] if your email requires immediate attention.

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Out of office sick leave template

You don’t need to tell the sender too much, but it is important to say you won’t be available. If it is a long-term illness, you might not have a date set for your return. In this case, focus on providing specific contact details for who is covering during your absence.

Hi,

I am currently on sick leave, so will not be responding to any emails.

I expect to return to work on [ESTIMATED DATE].

Please contact [NAME] at [EMAIL ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER] who will be more than happy to help while I’m away.

Many thanks,

[Your Name]

Delayed response templates

If you are working, but can't reply to emails easily, make this clear in your out of office message. This will easily set a sender's response expectations.

Hi there,

Thank you for your message.

I am currently out of the office due to [REASON]. I will be returning to the office on [DATE]. I will be checking my emails intermittently, but please expect a delay to any response.

If your message is urgent, please contact my [COLLEAGUE/MANAGER], [CONTACT NAME] on [EMAIL ADDRESS/PHONE NUMBER] who will be able to assist you. Otherwise, I will respond to your email on my return.

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Dear sender,

Thank you for your email.

I am currently exhibiting at [EVENT] in [LOCATION] from [DATE] to [DATE]. I will have limited access to my emails, so there will be a delay in me responding to you.

If you need to contact me urgently, please call me on [PHONE NUMBER].

Many thanks,

[YOUR NAME]

Hi there,

Thank you for your email.

I am currently out of the office speaking at [EVENT NAME] in [LOCATION]. I will be following up on emails when I have the chance, but please expect a delay to any response.

If you’re attending [EVENT NAME], make sure to stop by [BOOTH NUMBER/STAGE] and we can catch up directly.

Regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Out of office template for public holidays

If your company is closed for a national holiday, then most or all of your colleagues won’t be working. Therefore, an out of office message should tell senders to not expect a response until your company reopens.

We don’t recommend promoting the holiday too much in your reply as not all senders will celebrate it, i.e. wishing people a Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving, etc.

Hi there,

Thank you for your email.

Our offices are now closed for [PUBLIC HOLIDAY]. We will open again on [DATE].

I will respond to you ASAP upon our return.

Regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Internal out of office reply template

An internal reply can use slightly more informal language but should not be too casual. Remember that any employee, including management, will be able to see this auto response if they email you.

Hi there,

I’m currently on [HOLIDAY/VACATION/ANNUAL LEAVE], but I’ll be back on [DATE].

If you need assistance, please direct any emails to [NAME] who is looking after my [WORKLOAD/INBOX/PROJECTS] while I’m away.

If it’s urgent, you can message me on [PHONE].

Thanks,

[YOUR NAME]

Maternity leave out of office template

Taking maternal leave, and indeed any parental leave, often means more time off work than standard annual leave. However, the messaging you use in this auto reply will be similar:

Hi there,

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office on [MATERNITY/PATERNITY/PARENTAL] leave commencing [DATE]. I plan on returning to the office on [DATE].

I will not be monitoring my emails during this time.

During this period, please contact [NAME] on [EMAIL ADDRESS/PHONE NUMBER] who will be able to assist you.

Regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Out of office lead generation and content promotion templates

As with email signatures, out of office messages can be used for lead generation purposes and promoting new content. You can easily add a sentence or two with a specific call to action such as linking to a free trial, asking the sender to sign up for a demo, or promoting a new eBook/white paper.

Hi,

I will be attending [EVENT] from [DATE] to [DATE]. Therefore, please expect a delay in me responding to you.

If your message is urgent, please contact our [DEPARTMENT] team on [EMAIL ADDRESS] who will be able to help.

If you want to try our new [PRODUCT], visit our website and sign up for a free trial [LINK TO FREE TRIAL URL]

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Hi there,

Thank you for your message.

I am currently out of the office on annual leave. I will be returning to the office on [DATE] and will not have access to my emails during this time.

If your message is urgent, please contact [CONTACT NAME] on [EMAIL ADDRESS/PHONE NUMBER] who will be more than happy to help. I will respond to all other emails on my return.

In the meantime, have you seen our new white paper? It provide lots of useful info on [WHAT THE WHITE PAPER IS ABOUT]. You can access it here [LINK TO WHITE PAPER URL].

Best,

[YOUR NAME]

Remote working (COVID-19) out of office replies

Remote working has become more prevalent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore increasing the need for specific out of office replies. The outbreak has forced many employees to either work from home or be furloughed until further notice. These templates can also be modified for any remote working situation.

Hi,

Thank you for your email.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, I am working from home for the foreseeable future. I will respond to your message as soon as I am able, but there may be a slight delay.

If your email is urgent, please contact [NAME/DEPARTMENT] on [PHONE] or [EMAIL ADDRESS].

Kind regards,

[YOUR NAME]

Hi,

Thank you for your email.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, I have been placed on furlough until [DATE IF KNOWN]. I will not be checking or responding to emails during this time.

Please direct any email correspondence to [NAME] on [EMAIL ADDRESS].

Kind regards,

[YOUR NAME]

How to set out of office replies in Outlook and Gmail

Outlook

  1. Select File > Automatic Replies (Out of Office).
  2. Click Send automatic replies.
    Setting an out of office template in Outlook
  3. Choose which dates you want your out of office message to go out and whether you want to send different versions for people both inside and outside your organization.
  4. Click OK to save your settings.

Gmail

  1. Select Settings > See all settings.
  2. On the General tab, scroll down to Out-of-Office AutoReply.
    Setting an out of office reply in Gmail
  3. Select Out of Office AutoReply on.
  4. After you have written your message, you can decide which dates you want it to go out on, and who you want the content to be sent to.
  5. Click Save Changes.

Set out of office message and auto replies easily

As with corporate email signatures, it can be difficult to enforce out of office messages across an organization. Some employees will forget to set them up when they go on vacation, while some emails won’t necessarily get forwarded to the right people.

Using Exclaimer Auto Responder for Exchange is a quick and easy way to automate replies to emails, redirect messages, add and remove senders and recipients from emails, and prevent certain messages from being delivered.

Learn more about how Exclaimer Auto Responder can benefit your business >>

For more information, check out these useful guides

How Exclaimer Can Help:

If you're looking for an easy way to design and manage professional email signatures across your whole organization, we're here to help. Find out more or start your free trial today!

Learn More Start your Free Trial