If you’re like most people, you take vacations from time to time. And if you don’t, you probably should. But regardless of whether you’re on vacation, at a conference, or out of town for some other reason, eventually, you’ll need to set up an “out of office” message.

In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the basics of out of office messages, and show you some out of office message examples you can use as a model for your own response.

How to Set Up an Out of Office Message in Gmail

When you’re ready, Gmail makes it easy to set up an out of office message. Head to the Settings menu and remain in the General tab. Scroll down until you find the “Vacation responder” option. Here, you’ll have the option to turn the Vacation responder on (it’s off by default).

out of office message examples - vacation responder settings

Once on, Gmail will send your custom reply automatically to incoming messages. This message is sent at most once every 4 days, to avoid annoying your contacts with multiple successive messages.

You’ll be required to choose the first day of your vacation responder, and you’ll have the option of choosing the last day. If you don’t set a last day, be sure to set up a reminder so you turn it off when you return.

You’ll be able to customize the subject line, as well as the body of the message (as you would an ordinary email). You can also choose to only send responses to people in your contact list already.

Out of Office Message Examples

If you’re looking for some out of office message examples, consult the following list. These are seven of the most common types of out of office messages you might want to set up.

1. Basic out of office message

“Hello,

Thanks for emailing me. I’m going to be out of the office from [date] to [date], and during this time, will have limited access to email. If your message is urgent, please contact [alternative contact information]. Otherwise, I’ll respond to your email as soon as I can when I return.

Thanks,”

This out of office message example is short and sweet, and it’s by far the most versatile and universally appropriate message on this list. It could hypothetically work for anyone, in any situation, regardless of why you’re leaving or how long you’re gone. You’ll notice many elements of this message, including alternate contact information and date ranges, appear in other out of office message examples on this list; they’re mainstays for a reason.

Feel free to jazz this up with some personal affects, like changing the opening and closing, or rephrasing certain sentences in your own voice.

2. Out of office message for lead generation

“Hello,

Thanks for emailing me. I’m going to be out of the office from [date] to [date], and during this time, will have limited access to email.

In the meantime, have you read or downloaded our latest whitepaper? In it, we cover the X most important strategies for getting new leads. You can find it at [link].

If your message is urgent, please contact [alternative contact information]. Otherwise, I’ll respond to your email as soon as I can.

Thanks,”

If you’re in the business of lead generation, or if you’re trying to get your clients and prospects to take a certain action, you can use an out of office message like this to get a few extra signups while you’re away. You can substitute just about anything for the “whitepaper” referenced in this example.

3. Out of office message for email list signup

 “Hello,

Thanks for emailing me. I’m going to be out of the office from [date] to [date], and during this time, will have limited access to email.

Did you know we have an email newsletter to keep you up-to-date on the latest happenings at [company]? Sign up at [link] and get exclusive access to our latest content.

If your message is urgent, please contact [alternative contact information]. Otherwise, I’ll respond to your email as soon as I can when I return.

Thanks,”

This email is best used if you have an email newsletter (or similar email marketing campaign) for which you need more signups. Obviously, it’s not going to work so well for people who are already clients, or for your coworkers, but if it gets you even a few extra signups while you’re away, it might be worth it.

4. Out of office message for lead nurturing / traffic generation

 “Hello,

Thanks for emailing me. I’m going to be out of the office from [date] to [date], and during this time, will have limited access to email.

If you’re emailing me about [topic], you can find out more information at [link]. Or if you’re interested in a quick quote, you can contact [alternative contact information].

Either way, I’ll respond to your email as soon as I can.

Thanks,”

If your email address is available to new prospects or leads, you won’t want them going cold while you’re away from the office. That’s why this out of office message example is designed to direct those leads to find more information (or at least stay interested in your company or offers). Typically, it’s best to give them multiple options, like directing them to a website or to another member of your team.

5. Out of office message for conference networking opportunities

“Hello,

Thanks for emailing me. I’m currently attending [conference name] from [date] to [date], and during this time, will have limited access to email.

Are you also at the conference? Make sure to check out our company booth at [location] for a free [giveaway offer]. I’ll also be [alternative location information].

If you’re just emailing to connect, I’ll respond to your email as soon as I can. If your message is urgent, please contact [alternative contact information].

Thanks,”

If you’re attending a conference, networking event, trade show, or other opportunity where you’re meeting lots of people, you might be getting lots of inbound emails while you’re away. Again, you don’t want these new contacts to go cold right away, so spend some time setting up an auto-response message that greets them warmly—and directs them to your location at the event.

6. Out of office message for social media traffic

“Hello,

Thanks for emailing me. I’m going to be out of the office from [date] to [date], and during this time, will have limited access to email.

In the meantime, you can find me on social media at [link]. There, you can keep up with my latest updates—and engage with me directly if I’m available. You can also keep up with the latest [company] news at [company link].

If your message is urgent, please contact [alternative contact information].

Thanks,”

If you’re heavily invested in social media marketing, or if you plan on checking your social profiles while you’re away (instead of email), you can use this out of office message example to direct them to your social presence. Feel free to include multiple options here, both for your personal accounts and company accounts, but don’t bombard your recipients or you’ll simply annoy them.

7. Fun out of office message

“Hey!

I’m currently trying to relax, so I probably won’t get to your email anytime soon. I’m on vacation from [date] to [date], and will be avoiding work communications at all costs.

Fortunately, my dear coworkers will be available, in case you have an urgent need. You can contact them at [alternative contact information].

In all seriousness, I’ll get back to you when I return on [date], or as soon as possible.

Thanks,”

There are tons of gimmicky ways you can set up your out of office message. If your company’s brand is humorous or easygoing, this is probably preferred—otherwise, you’re better off with something simple and formal. Of course, if you’re used to an easygoing environment where you can email however you want and joke around with your coworkers, you’re probably clever or creative enough to come up with something cheeky of your own. Just don’t take too much of a risk, or you might not have a job to come back to.

8. Out of office message for holidays

“Merry Christmas! / Happy New Year! / Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m out of office for the holiday, and won’t be checking email while I’m out. Wishing you the [merriest/happiest holiday], and I’ll read and respond to your email when I return to the office on [date].

Cheers,”

It’s never a bad idea to include a little holiday cheer when relevant. So if you’re taking some time off for a holiday, go ahead and start your out of office response by bestowing upon your recipient a warm holiday greeting.

9. Out of office message for vacation

“Hello!

I’m currently out of the office as I take some days off to roam and explore [destination].

During this time, I will have limited access to emails, but I’ll read and respond to your message when I return to the office on [date].

In the meantime, you can get in touch with [alternative contact] at [alternative contact email address] if you need assistance sooner than that.

Cheers,”

This is a simple, yet professional out of office message for vacations that keeps things short and simple.

Other Out of Office Variations to Consider

You may wish to vary the above out of office message examples in other ways:

  • Maternity leave/specific departure reasons. If you’re going on maternity leave, or if you’re going on a spiritual journey in an Arizona desert, you might feel inclined to include this in your outgoing message. For the most part, your professional contacts don’t need to know about your personal business, but if there’s a good professional reason for you to explain yourself, it might be worth including this context.
  • Images and gifs. If you’re setting up an out of office message for your coworkers, or if your company has an informal style overall, you can consider including images and gifs in your message for a bit of color.
  • Coworker and client variations. Some email platforms (and Gmail add-ons) allow you to set up variant out of office messages. If you do this, you may be able to come up with one client-facing version and one coworker-facing version.

If your goal is to improve your email efficiency or productivity, consider giving EmailAnalytics a try in addition to perfecting your out of office messages. EmailAnalytics plugs into Gmail, collecting data on your email habits; from there, you can engage with interactive data visuals to learn your top senders and recipients, your busiest days and hours, and even metrics like average email response time. Sign up for a free trial and learn more today!

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