Vacation and time away from work is a necessity in order to be able to unplug and recharge. As research often tells us, disconnecting from work, talk around the water cooler, office politics, and even checking email can ultimately help us lead a more productive life.
Too often we feel the tension of knowing we need to take a break and fearing that our time away from work will just lead to more work when we get back. While many factors play into this tension, there are small ways we can alleviate the stress of the return to work after much needed time off.
One of the first steps to making our vacation time more productive is placing a fitting out of office (OOO) email that establishes well-defined boundaries for our time away from the workplace. So how do we write the perfect OOO message that doesn’t make us look like a “slacker,” or potentially lead to missed opportunities while we’re away from work?
Believe it or not, what we often perceive as something that can negatively affect the way we are seen or our business success — can frequently be used to our advantage. OOO messages that are written carefully and effectively can be an unbelievable implementation that leads us to a win. These little autoresponders built into our emails can give us the opportunity to make social contacts with teammates, customers, and retailers. Whether we are taking a vacation, spending time with family during a funeral, away at a conference, or celebrating the birth of a new baby, Out-of-Office messages can lead to greater success.
Making the Message Meaningful
Sharing a little information about your absence can be turned into a conversation starter the next time you communicate with the recipient of the OOO email. Let the individual reader know that you are just as human as everyone else. This will be a good reminder that you have quite a bit in common.
Begin by asking yourself a few important questions: Why am I taking time away from the office? Where are you going on vacation and why is your time away with friends and family significant? What is the purpose of the conference you are attending, and how will that help you attend to your client’s needs?
Applying OOO emails that have a personal touch can lead to better conversations at work and with your clients. Upon your return, they will be more likely to ask you about the conference you attended or the vacation destination. Perhaps they went to the same place on one of their vacations or they desire to go there someday. This connection may lead to a more meaningful relationship with others in your office.
Sharing a Valuable Resource
Sometimes you can share a resource that was beneficial to you either at work or personally. If you know your audience, what can you suggest to them that can be beneficial? Have you considered what could help the people who email you the most? It could be an online article you found to be helpful. Maybe you have the ability to offer a coupon or discount in your OOO email to clients while you are away. If you are attending a conference where there is a recognized presenter that could resonate with your email recipients, you could possibly include a link to his/her material.
Customizing Your Email Message
Some email providers allow you the option to draft messages to various groups. For example, Gmail gives you the ability to send autoresponders to those you have designated in your various address book groupings, while also sending it out to people you don’t have in your address book. This gives you the capability to be more flexible and personal with your various groups. So often, we tend to share more personal information with our colleagues at work versus our clients or customers.
Let’s look at some examples of OOO emails that can give you the ability to make an impact with the recipients of the email while you are away from work.
Effective Out-of-Office Email Samples
Hi, I’m celebrating the birth of my newborn girl, as well as taking some time to assist my wife during the new transition. Because of this momentous occasion, I will not be checking my email until [date]. If you need anything right away, please contact my office partner [email].
Hi! Thank you for reaching out to me. I trust you are having a wonderful summer. It’s time for my annual family vacation at The Cape. I look forward to answering your email when I return on [date]. While I’m away, let me share this valuable online discount with you. I hope you find it helpful.
An external email could say: Hi, I’m currently celebrating my much-anticipated marriage with my husband. I’ll be away from the office until [date]. Please don’t hesitate to touch base with [my assistant] if you need support while I’m away. I look forward to connecting with you when I return from my honeymoon.
An internal email might say: Robert and I are officially tying the knot on [date]. After the wedding, we will be heading to The Bahamas for the honeymoon until [date]. In my absence, please contact [colleague] for any assistance. Just in case you have never seen my handsome husband, I’ve attached our engagement picture of this email!
As you can see, you can be as personal as you like with these emails. They can share as much information as you’re comfortable with. The goal is to connect with readers and make them feel like part of the family. This will build relationships both in and out of the workplace.
Absolutely amazing. Matthew came to the office and worked with the laptop I had tried to fix myself. He listened carefully to what I reported, then worked with it for over an hour. He asked if he could take it back to his office to work with it. I agreed on the basis of a two-hour billable cap. He took it back to his shop, I’m sure spent way more than two hours fixing it, and returned to me a laptop I scarcely recognized–faster, working wireless, updated Cisco VPN software–perfection. In the course of his magic, he was always available to discuss the configuration, asked all the right questions and gave the right answers. He met the deadline I imposed. The service was so impressive that I asked about future availability to deal with a small business network if help was needed. There’s a team of folks ready to help.”