How to Write an Out-of-Office Message

How to Write an Out-of-Office Message

An auto-responder email message, sometimes known as an out-of-office message (OOO) message, is used when you won't be able to receive or react to emails for a predetermined amount of time. They serve as a valuable tool for informing coworkers about your anticipated timeline for response or the person to reach out to during your absence. It is customary to regard them as appropriate work protocol for extended absences such as vacations and sick days.

Without proper planning, business operations may be disrupted by vacations, leaves of absence, or prolonged absences. Etiquette for both in-person and remote work recommends leaving an auto-reply message to answer any questions while you're away, providing direction and an explanation of the circumstances. By sending these messages, you can ensure that everything runs properly until you return. If you don't, people can interpret your silence negatively.

Out-of-office messages are often emailed, while some employ auto-replies for calls and texts. Email is one of the best ways to communicate in business, especially with more peripheral contacts. You will likely inform them of your leave through word of mouth or other work-related communication channels (like a messaging app) if you collaborate with someone so closely that you don't use email.

Out-of-Office Template Email: How to write an out-of-office message

Out-of-office communications don't have to be long or complex as long as they include the necessary information. Although it's entirely up to them, some people enjoy adding subtle touches and lighthearted comedy to their remarks.

To be more precise, a robust out-of-office notice has the following three details:

  1. The days that you will be absent
  2. A brief explanation of your absence
  3. Point(s) of contact for additional help if the situation becomes urgent; if you have more than one point of contact, specify which one should be informed about which issues.

These are the essentials to ensure the smooth operation of your external contacts or colleagues during your absence. It satisfies their interest, so they don't believe you're gone for other reasons, and it allows the receiver to wait for your return or move forward without you.


Out-of-office messages are typically relatively brief because all of this information may be covered in a few phrases. It's helpful to add some warm salutations and courteous gestures, such "Thanks for your message" or "Let's talk soon," in addition to the facts.

Out of Office Template Email: When to use an out-of-office message


If you cannot reply to emails during typical business hours, putting up an out-of-office message is recommended. OOO messages are appropriate for brief absences, like one-day trips or parental leaves, and longer ones, such as doctor's appointments or early dismissals from work.

The best time to use out-of-office messages actually depends on your work and the urgency of the communications you get. Consider what will happen if someone messages you before deciding whether or not to set up an out-of-office message. You don't need one if your answer won't be too late for them. Nonetheless, you should put up an OOO message if the situation is urgent enough that you might need to handle it while you're away, or at the very least, explain why your response might be delayed.

Out of Office Template Email; Examples and Templates

1. Core message

You can use this template, which is the simplest if you are not forwarding senders to a coworker.

Sample template:

Subject: Out of the office

I appreciate your email. Until [date], I'm [out of the office/on vacation], but I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

2. Not available or not following emails



Inform senders that you won't be responding until you return to the workplace by using this template. Even if you check your email while you're away, this lessens the urge to respond immediately.

Sample template:

Subject: I'm out of the office until [date]

I appreciate your email. I won't have access to email while I'm away from the office until [date]. When I return, I will reply as quickly as I can.

3. Occasionally reviewing emails 

Send an OOO message informing senders that there may be a delay in responding if you intend to check messages while traveling or attending meetings.

Sample template:

Subject: Out of the Office – Thank you for your patience

I won't be in the office until [date], and my email access will be restricted. It can take some time before you hear from me, but I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I appreciate your patience.

4. Transferring urgent inquiries

You can include a colleague's contact details in your out-of-office message (OOO) when they are handling urgent inquiries while you are gone.

Sample template:

Subject: Away from the office until [date]

I will reply to your email as soon as I can after I return to the office, which is now closed until [date]. If you need help immediately, please call my colleague, [name of person and email], at [number], or use our main switchboard.

5. Absent for a long period of time

Have all of your emails forwarded to a coworker if you're taking a sabbatical, medical, or parental leave. The arrangements made while you were away can be clarified with an OOO message.

Sample template:

Subject: I'm currently on leave until [date]

I appreciate your email. Up until [date], I'm on parental leave. The person managing my accounts while I'm away, [name], has immediately received your email. Please call [phone number] if you need to contact [name] while they wait to hear from you.

6. Various Contacts

Depending on the type of question, you can also use an OOO message to refer the sender to other peers. This is the best choice if your company places a high value on providing excellent customer service.

Sample template:

Subject: I'm away from the office, but my colleagues can assist you

Hi, and I appreciate your message. I won't have access to email till [date] while I'm away from the office. We value the message you have sent us. Before I return, my colleagues will be pleased to help if you need it. Kindly get in touch with:

For normal inquiries, use [name] and [email address].

[name] for inquiries about advertising [email address]

[name] for [email address] sales support

To learn more about our business, kindly visit our website at [URL].

If not, I'm excited to contact you when I return to the office.

7. Shutdown of the entire firm

An OOO might inform the sender that you will be in contact upon the reopening of your business, even if it is closed for a holiday or team-building exercise.

Sample template:

Subject: Our offices are closed from [insert dates]

I appreciate your message. From December 24 to January 2, our offices will be closed for the holidays. In the coming year, we want to be of assistance to you. To learn more or to subscribe to our newsletter in the interim, please visit our website at [URL].

Cheers to the holidays!

Out of Office Template Email: what is the subject line for out-of-office email?

An email from outside the office usually has the subject line "Out of Office" or "OOO." This is a simple and direct method of informing the receiver that the sender is not accessible now.

Make it brief and direct; "Away," "Vacation Auto-Reply," and "Out of Office" are all suitable choices. To let people know how long they may expect to wait for a response, it's also a good idea to add your return date in the subject line.

For instance, "Out of Office until January 15" would suit. More importantly, it lets people know when to expect a response from you without requiring them to read the email text. This also helps with filtering if you have an email messaging system that can do it. By doing this, you demonstrate your consideration for their time.

Examples of subject lines for out-of-office email templates;

  • Not in the office: [date]

  • Out of office: [vacation information]

  • Out of office: [reason for absence]

  • On vacation from: [date] – [date]

  • Dates of Holidays: [date] – [date]

  • OOO: Day of Absence

  • Unavailable: abroad

  • In the event of an emergency:

  • Not at my desk on [date]

  • Presently on vacation

  • I'll return soon

  • Taking a break

  • Taking a quick vacation

Out of Office Template Email: The best way to structure out-of-office messages

The practices around out-of-office emails:

  1. Preferably mention the precise dates when you will not be in the office. It's helpful for others to know precisely when to send you a follow-up email to attempt to reach you when you return by including the dates of your specific absence and return. Emails can easily get lost in the shuffle when you're away for an extended period.
  2. Please let people know when your response times are delayed. Even if you've returned to work, it's usually a good idea to let clients know that it might take some time to get back to them if you're out of the office and you know you'll be busy with other chores when you return.
  3. Please specify the cause of your absence. Informing folks that you are on vacation and out of the office usually deters them from contacting you. If you don't let people know where you've gone, though, they might try to contact you while you're lounging by using a new email address or, gasp, a phone number.
  4. Please include an alternate means of contact. In case of an emergency, kindly furnish your personal phone number or the contact person's name, phone number, and email address.

Understandably, when on vacation, you might not want to be bothered at all, but remember that various people have different ideas about what is and isn't "urgent."

Not to do with out-of-office messages.

1. If a secondary contact hasn't consented, don't include them. You may already know the ideal person to handle any replies while you're gone, but you should always get their consent to let them handle your communications in your absence.

It's impolite to forward all of your correspondence to a coworker without first requesting their permission. Additionally, it could indicate that something significant is lost in the crack.

2. Don't act too carefree. While it may be tempting to write a lighthearted email boasting about how you were able to avoid work for a week, a possible customer may misinterpret or find this tone offensive.

Even though it may seem a little monotonous, keeping the email professional, concise, and limited to the necessary information is preferable.

3. Avoid making mistakes. You might include anyone in your out-of-office message, such as a significant client, a CEO of a business, or even your employer if they have sent you something to review when you get back.

You must respond professionally to avoid unintentionally upsetting anyone, so double-check your out-of-office email before heading out on vacation.


Establishing a precise and professional out-of-office statement is crucial to understanding your absence. Colleagues and clients can better manage their expectations and questions during your absence if you provide them advance notice of your leave dates, alternate contacts, and a brief reason for your absence. To make a good impression, keeping your communication in an elegant and polite tone is also critical.

Ashleigh Masiko
This article was written by Ashleigh a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

Related Articles


Sign up now to get updated on latest posts and relevant career opportunities