Getting ready for some time away from the office? Whether out of obligation or for vacation, writing an out-of-office email is crucial to keep up business momentum while you’re away from your desk. Putting thought into this seemingly small task can help save you and your clients from miscommunication and other issues when you return. 

A few basic elements should be included in your out-of-office emails, such as the dates you’ll be gone, when you’ll return, and who clients and colleagues can contact in the meantime. Without these details, you could be coming back from vacation only to be greeted by numerous work emergencies. 

Not sure what to say or how to set up out-of-office emails? We’ll show you how to set up automatic replies in Gmail and Outlook and share some out-of-office email templates you can use to craft your next out-of-office email.

How to add an OOO message to your email

To set up an out-of-office message template in Gmail:

  1. Navigate to the “Settings menu and scroll down” to Vacation Responder.
  2. You’ll have the “option to turn the Vacation Responder setting on” and edit your auto-reply message.
  3. Select Save.”


What are auto-reply email messages?

Just because you’ll be out of the office doesn’t mean that daily business operations will pause. Inevitably, you’ll receive a few emails from coworkers and clients while you’re away. Many automated business tools are aimed at improving productivity, such as automatic invoicing software, remote collaboration, and auto-reply email messages. 

An auto-reply email message is sent in response to these emails received while you are unavailable. If you’ve ever sent an email to someone who went on vacation, you have probably been the recipient of this type of email before. Out-of-office email messages relay information about when that person will be back in the office and the contact information for who to reach out to until they return. 

Auto-reply emails are set up from your email account according to the specific dates you will be out of the office. Your email responses will automatically end when you return, and you can resume your normal correspondence. And if you decide to come back a little early, you can always end the automatic replies at your discretion. 

How to write the perfect OOO (out of office) message?

People have been using email for about as long as the internet has existed. It provides us with a way of communicating with specific individuals or large groups of people with web features such as rich content and hyperlinks. Email is a revenue-generating machine, and it’s important to pay attention to the details of every message, especially when you’ll be out of the office for a period of time. 

If you’re wondering how to write the perfect out-of-office email message, here are some tips to help get you started:

1) Tell them that you will be out of the office

Tell your email recipients that you will be out of the office within the first few lines of your email, and be clear about whether or not you will be taking messages. 

2) Be mindful of your audience

When crafting an out-of-office email, you’ll want to keep your audience in mind. Whether you only receive internal emails or a combination of client and company emails, it will make a difference in how to word your message.

3) Keep it concise

There’s no reason to include all the details of your itinerary while you’re out of the office. Keep your auto-reply simple and concise. 

4) Include specific dates

One of the worst mistakes you can make when creating an auto-reply email for when you will be out of the office is failing to include the specific dates you will be gone and when you will return.

5) Don’t forget to add a point of contact

Include the contact information of those who can help while you’re out. Provide the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of any points of contact so that your clients and colleagues aren’t without support. 

Top 5 out-of-office email templates

No matter the industry you are in, be it small business marketing or accounting, there are many different reasons why you may be out of the office. Here are a few automatic reply templates for some common reasons workers take time off.

1) General out-of-office template

Thank you for your message. I’ll be out of the office from [date] for an [reason]. If you need assistance while I am away, please contact [contact name here] via [telephone or email; include contact info].

2) Medical leave auto-reply email template

Thanks for sending me an email. I am currently out of the office on medical leave and expect to return on [return date]. I will be unable to check my voicemail or respond to emails, so please contact [contact name and info] with any concerns until I return. I appreciate your patience while I take time off to recover. 

3) Major holiday out-of-office email template

Thank you for your email. I hope that you are enjoying this season. Our office will be closed from [beginning and end dates] in observance of [holiday]. At this time, we will not be responding to messages, but if you have an emergency, please contact me on my personal phone at [telephone number]. I will respond to all other emails as soon as we’re open!

4) Vacation out-of-office reply template

Thanks for reaching out! I am on vacation from [start and end dates]. To make the most of my time with my family, I will not be checking my emails until I return to the office on [return date]. If your message is urgent, you can contact my colleague [name and contact info]. Thank you for understanding!

5) Parental leave auto-reply email template

Thank you for getting in touch. I am proud to announce the birth of my son, and I am currently away on paternity leave. I will return to the office on [return date], and in the meantime, my esteemed colleague [name here] will be taking care of my accounts. Please feel free to contact them at [contact info] during our regular office hours. Thank you for allowing us this time to get to know our new addition. 

Avoid these elements in your automatic replies

Here are some elements to avoid to make sure that your out-of-office email is as effective as possible:

1) Giving too much detail

While you may feel that you should justify your reason for leaving, it’s none of their business, and usually, your recipients don’t want to know all the details. Share a few words about why you’ll be out of the office and leave it at that. 

2) Typos

Typos are distracting and unprofessional. Maintain clarity by proofreading your out-of-office message template before activating it to avoid unsightly typos. 

Typos are distracting and unprofessional

3) Unsolicited jokes

Everyone thinks their jokes are funny to some degree, but even professional comedians can have a hard time working a room. Keep your emails formal and don’t trust that your sense of humor will read well since people tend to find different things funny or offensive. 

How to set an OOO message for Gmail & Outlook – step by step guide:

Setting up an out-of-office email message is simple for Gmail and Outlook users. Here’s how:

1) Gmail

To set up an out-of-office message template in Gmail:

  1. Navigate to the “Settings menu and scroll down” to Vacation Responder.

2. You’ll have the “option to turn the Vacation Responder setting on” and edit your auto-reply message.

2. You’ll have the option to turn the Vacation Responder setting on and edit your auto-reply message

3.”Select Save.”

save changes for vacation responfer on.png

2) Outlook

To set up an out-of-office message template in Outlook:

1. “Select File“, then click Info. 

2. “Choose Automatic Replies

3. “Check the box” next to only send during this time period.

4. “Enter a start and end date“, enter your auto-reply email template, and select Submit. 

Final Thoughts

No matter what kind of business you’re in or how many people you work with, having an automatic reply set up for when you are out of the office is polite and professional. It communicates to your clients and coworkers the essential information that they need to know so that you can relax and enjoy your time away. 

It’s also important to remember workplace email etiquette and professionalism when creating an out-of-office email. A sloppy and informal email might be okay among close coworkers and friends, but clients and higher-ups may not respond as well. Consider your audience and choose the right tone and wording to match. 

Use one of these templates to write your next out-of-office email, or craft your own using the tips listed in this article. Remember, as long as you clearly communicate the most critical information to your recipients, your out-of-office email will be effective and professional.