How to Set an Effective Out-of-Office Message
Before going on holiday, the last thing on most people’s minds is leaving an ‘out-of-office’ message to inform their co-workers that they’re away.
Making sure you do leave one (and an effective one at that), is very important, however, if you don’t want to return home to find a mountain of work and stressed out co-workers.
Ian from Ian’s Messy Desk has created a detailed outline for leaving a good out-of-office message. Clearly having considerable experience with such messages, Ian suggests that simply telling the caller you aren’t at work is the worst kind of message, and that giving them details is important (if you don’t want to return to a huge stack of work and stress).
Ian suggests including the following in your message:
- Dates of your absence. Let the contact know when you are out of the office. It helps them decide what their next step is going to be; whether to wait for your return or to direct their request elsewhere.
- Reason for absence. I like to let my contacts know whether I am on a business trip or vacation. A business trip means I am connected to the office in some way and might be able to respond to a message. If I’m on vacation, I’m out of contact range.
- Who to contact in your absence. I try and leave contact information for alternate contacts when I am out of the office; a minimum of one up to as many as are needed.
The first point here is very important. Most of the things you’ll get phone calls about while out of the office will need to be resolved before you get back. By telling people when you’ll be back in your message, people will accept that you can’t help them and find another way to resolve the issue.
For example, instead of saying “I’m out of the office”, say “I am away from the office for two weeks and will be back on the 14th of April”. Then give the same level of detail when specifying who to contact in your absence.
For more information on leaving leaving a good out-of-office message, check out Ian’s Messy Desk.
Do you have any other tips or tricks when it comes to leaving out-of-office messages? Feel free to leave a comment below!
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