The out of office message – the most underrated communications tool while you’re at work. Anytime you need to take time off or step away for a few hours, you can use the OOO message to keep your team informed and in the loop about your availability.
An out of office can be for a planned absence or an emergency situation. In both cases, we know there is an element of a last-minute rush which means that you may not remember to set this.
An effective out of office message should include:
- Your period of absence: Are you gone for the day or just a few hours? Let your colleagues know how long you’ll be gone for so they can manage their request accordingly.
- Any replacement or relevant points of contact: It’s always good to have a point of contact you direct queries to in the time that you’re away. Pre decide who this will be and have a chat with them so you don’t have to spend time finding a point of contact before you leave. In most cases this will be your manager.
- Communication preferences during this time: Will you be contactable? Or are you putting your phone away so you can focus on a personal matter? Set boundaries and be clear on your availability during this time. If you will be checking occasionally then, again, set clear expectations.
Download these handy templates for when you’re in a hurry or just need some inspiration before a holiday!