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How to write the perfect Out of Office email

Hi!

Have you planned this year’s summer holiday yet? There are lots of things to do before leaving. One of those things is to set your e-mail’s OOF (Out of Office), which will be sent automatically to anyone who writes to you during your absence.

These messages usually mention how long you’ll be out of the office and who the sender can contact if they need an immediate reply or they can’t wait until you return. If you work for a multinational company or many of your contacts speak a language that is different from yours, the most convenient option is to write an Out of Office reply in English so that everyone will understand it.

The most typical examples are:

I’m out of the office until Monday, August 14. If you require immediate assistance please email colleague@colleague.com in my absence. Thanks.

 

Thanks for your email. I’ll be out of the office from the 2nd to the 7th May. Should the matter be important, please contact Jim Ross (jross@fakecompany.com ) in my absence. Kind regards.

You can also mention that there’s a small chance that you’ll read the e-mail but you can’t guarantee it:

Hi there. I’m out of the office until Monday, August 14, with limited access to email. If you have an immediate need please email colleague@colleague.com in my absence. Thanks.

Even though these examples use the contracted forms I’m or I’ll, remember that a certain level of formality should be used in corporate messages, so it’s preferable to use the long forms (I am and I will).

If you’re able to configure your e-mail client so that different messages are sent to different groups of contacts, perhaps you’d like to write a more fun and personalised message:

Oops, too late! I’m off on vacation right now until the 16th, probably sipping on a margarita while you read this. I’ll reply when I’m back, but if it’s super urgent, contact abc@def.com

Remember that these messages are very informal. Therefore, use them only if you know exactly who the recipients will be (for example, colleagues from the same department, addresses belonging to your company’s domain, etc.). If you aren’t sure it’s better to write a formal message than to risk misunderstandings.

Different ways of saying the same thing

Signalling absence.

I will be out of the office

I am not in the office

I am (currently) out of the office

I will be away from X to Y

Redirecting the message.

Should the matter be important…

If you require immediate assistance…

For urgent queries…

I you have an immediate need…

…please email X

…please contact X

…please write to/call X

As you can see, it isn’t complicated at all to write an automatic Out of Office reply for when you go on holiday. Remember to practice these new skills before you leave on holiday. Bon voyage!

If you need to perfect your Business English, remember that ABA English has a Business level with 24 units devoted entirely to business. If you prefer, you can also start with the Beginners level:
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About George

George
George was born and raised near Glasgow, Scotland. He has been teaching English in Spain for the past 4 years, from beginner to business. In his free time he loves travelling with friends and really enjoys watching a good game of football and tennis.

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