OOO Messages

It’s amazing how they vary – from OOO, with possibly a date of return, to quite a long text of where you are and who to contact for different matters. However you decide to write your message, here are some tips for good English OOO messages:

  1. A lot of readers are really only interested in when you will return, so it’s a good idea to include this in the subject of your email, e.g. Back on 2 May 2022. Don’t write 01.05.2022 as this is 5 January in US English …
  2. If you write, “I am out of the office until 2 May”, this means you will be back on 2 May which is a day earlier than the German version, which I’m sure you wouldn’t mean!
  3. You don’t need to start it with “Dear (Name)”. It’s absolutely fine to write “Thank you for your message” which nicely includes formal and informal recipients 
  4. Remember your Ps and Qs (an English idiom for “mind your language”) and keep it clear and polite – you don’t know who will be reading it
  5. Be careful about being amusing, not everyone has the same sense of humour. I recently read, “I am currently out of the office and probably chilling on the beach. Enjoy your working week” which not everyone wants to read I’m sure.
  6. And finally, be careful about writing, “ I’ll get back to you as soon as possible after I return” as this could take quite a few days if your inbox holds hundreds of unread emsils  …

Here is an example of quite a nice one:

“Thank you for your email. I am currently out of the office and will return on [return date]. I will be happy to reply to your message when I return.

If you need assistance in the meantime, please contact [name of colleague + their job title] at [email, phone, etc.].”

Clear, precise and polite. Finally, I recommend that companies try to use a standard English OOO message to avoid errors …

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