Effective Out of Office Messages

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’re delighted to have this guest post from our friend and colleague Ashley Pero.

Are you getting ready for some time out of the office?  It is important not to forget to set your out of office email and voicemail messages. You can easily set a task reminder for the day of your departure to pop up in Outlook. And, if you do forget it is worth a trip back to the office (or a quick remote in) to get it set. An effective out of office message can save you time when you get back to the office and also lets people know why they haven’t heard back from you. These people can be coworkers, donors, clients, volunteers or that all important potential donor – you don’t want to leave them thinking you are unresponsive or don’t care.

You can craft an effective out of office message by answering a few simple questions:

  • When will you be out of the office and what day will you return?
  • Will the office be closed during any of the time your away?
  • How can you be contacted (if at all)?
  • Who can they contact while you’re away?

An email out of office example:
Hi! I will be out of the office with no access to email until (day of the week), (month and day). I will respond to all emails upon my return. 

If you require immediate assistance please call our office, (888) 888-8888, and someone will be happy to assist you. 

The office will be closed (dates office will be closed). 

Thank you. 

Your voicemail out of office can be similar, but try and keep it short with just the important information.

  • You could also have limited access to email/voicemail or available only by cell phone – if that is the case let them know how long they should expect a response to take.
  • If there is a particular person they should ask for in your office list that person’s name, email and phone number. If there are certain people for certain issues list them all (being mindful while recording your voicemail out of office).

And one last thing, if you are using Outlook make sure to set both the internal and external message (both tabs). The same message can work, but you customize both depending on your office size and office requirements.

Originally published on the Nonprofit Leadership Center of Tampa Bay blog.

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