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