Easter Bank Holidays! Love them – two days either side of a weekend when we have official permission to shelve work if we want to. If you are taking some time off, you may be putting a brilliant Out of Office message on your email. The question is – what will you put in it?
When I worked for North Yorkshire Police, we were expected to be quite corporate and professional in our Out of Office – this was reinforced when a couple of waggish employees thought they’d tell email senders what to do with their emails until they got back, apparently forgetting that members of the public could be emailing them too. “Words of advice” were given to the employees, and standards for Out of Office messages were published, about sticking to dates of absence and points of contact only.
Nowadays I like to inject a little interest into my Out of Office – at Christmas I used a Dickens quote, and I usually say something about what we’re up to for the duration of the break. This time, I’ve gone with:
“No sooner are they back at school, than it’s the Easter holidays! I will be working reduced hours w/c 29th March, when I will be checking emails periodically, but I will be closed from Good Friday and for the following week (2nd – 9th April) to eat chocolate, hot cross buns and stop the children from discovering the Easter Bunny’s stash too early….
I think it’s a nice opportunity to show a little bit of personality – it’s a direct communication with someone who’s emailed you, so why not?
But it’s easy to take it too far, just like those cheeky colleagues of mine. I wrote a blog post on brilliant Out of Office messages a couple of years ago, and I thought it might be time to see what new gems have been unearthed. Here are a couple of autoresponders that certainly made me laugh, but I’m not sure I’d dare to use them myself!
“You probably don’t want to hear this because you’re at work…but I’m on holiday and will be back on 1 September. If you need something right now, and there’s no convincing you otherwise, then please call…”
“Hi. I’m thinking about what you’ve just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.”
“I am currently out of the office. I have a mobile phone and access to email, but I certainly won’t be using them for work purposes.”
“I’m away with my family, checking emails sporadically. I may or may not reply to you during this time, based on whether or not I like you, and the urgency of the problem and whether I’m responsible for it.”
“I’m currently out of the office, and can be reached by waiting until I get back”.
Good luck with composing your brilliant Out of Office message – and have a fabulous bank holiday weekend!