Away from the office? How to write a good auto-reply

Away from the office? How to write a good auto-reply

Planning a short break and a few days away from the office? Before you close Outlook and turn off your PC, remember to set up an automated message that shows consideration for your contacts – even though you probably don’t want to talk to them right now.

During holidays and before long weekends, they pile up from every direction: “Out of office”, “On holiday”, “Back Monday” – yawn! Such messages tend only to lead to frustration, albeit short-lived. So next time you take a few days’ well-earned break, why not leave behind a friendly and more personal greeting? You might raise a smile, but more importantly it may also help the people trying to contact you to remember you for the future.

Whether you decide to drop in a film quote or two, add an image, or keep your message traditional, it should always include the following five points:

1. The friendly introduction

The person who’s contacted you wants to hear from you, so it’s only right to thank them for their e-mail.

2. The personal touch

This is where you can really shine. Briefly explain why you’re away, whether you’re cruising in the Med, relaxing with family or clearing out the garage. And if you’re out of the office finding inspiration for professional things you want to share when you get back, put that in your message too.

3. The date you’ll get back, and whether you’ll be reading your e-mails while you’re away

Make it clear when you’ll be back in the office – and, most importantly, when people can expect a reply. Not everyone manages to plough through their entire inbox on their first day back, after all.

4. The person to talk to while you’re away

Provide contact information for a colleague who can be reached if it’s urgent. Just remember to make sure that they’ll actually be around while you’re away.

5. The sign-off

Finish the message with a friendly sign-off – for example, wish the recipient a good summer/winter/whatever* break (*delete as appropriate) and let them know that you’re looking forward to getting back in touch when you return.

Two examples

It’s never a bad idea to take inspiration from others who create a positive impression even when they’re not at work. Here are a couple:

Example of auto-reply from a Twitter user.

Twitter user @courtwhip may not have followed all of our points, but come 2 January we will definitely be asking why on earth “Love Actually” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” were not on the list.

Another example of a creative auto-reply.

It’s fine to blow your own trumpet, as long as you do it with a twinkle in your eye.

A final tip

Consider adding a link to a useful article on your website, or perhaps invite the recipient to keep up to date by checking the company’s Facebook page while you are away.

A personal twist is guaranteed to pique a little extra interest among recipients. It could be the key to establishing a more personal relationship with your customer, your supplier or your business partner, and lead to even better things in the future.

Happy holidays!

Magnus Berg

Magnus Berg

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Samtext International
Brynsveien 5
0667 Oslo, Norway
Tel. +47 92 98 32 53