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:
- 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 …
- 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!
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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 …