Vacations: we all need them. They are a chance to care for ourselves and our families. And they’re a chance to give our brains a break–so we can come back to work refreshed and even more effective. I’ve been running my own business for some time now. I take my vacations seriously–and you should too.
Do you know what helps me leave on vacation and really relax?
An out of office email.
Setting up an out of office email before you leave on vacation means that you can feel serene. Because anyone who sends you an email knows what to expect while you’re away.
Basically, an out of office email gives you a vacation from emails too.
You can make sure there are no misunderstandings while you are gone.
And that you don’t anger any clients, customers or coworkers who might be waiting for your reply when you are doing yoga on the beach somewhere!
Today I’ll help you create your own out of office email so that you can go on vacation in peace. AND leave your clients, customers or colleagues with a professional explanation, so they’re not wondering why you’re not emailing them back.
We’ll take a look at everything you need to include in the perfect out of office email.
And I’ll give you two models that you can copy and use today, or the next time you go on vacation.
1. Writing the Perfect out of Office Email in English: What you must include.
Every out of office email will have the same information. Including these things will make sure your business contacts know what to expect. And that you can take your vacation in peace.
Remember to include:
- The date your leave/vacation will begin,
- The exact date you will return,
- Expectations about how and when you will respond,
- Who to contact while you’re absent (if there is someone), OR
- A warning that the entire office is closed (if everyone is away on holiday),
- Whether or not you will have some or limited access to email (or have zero intent to check your email at all) You might be thinking–Is it really possible to have no internet access at all? Really?
Well, it happened to me last year on vacation in Brittany, France on a farm with zero internet connection. In that case, you really need an out of office email!
Also check out my lesson: Which polite expressions can you use to finish your email in English?
2. Writing the Perfect out of Office Email in English: Model #1: Standard out of office email.
I know what it’s like to write a business email in French (not my native language). You can end up sitting there, thinking hard, and wondering if you’ve written the right thing.
So here is a template for a typical out of office email you can use. Just be sure to fill in your own information in the [SPACES].
Subject: Out of office from [DATE] to [DATE]
Thank you for contacting me.
Currently, I am out of the office from [DATE] until [DATE] [for VACATION/CONFERENCE/etc. – optional] with [limited/no access] to my email.
If your matter is not urgent, I will follow up with you as soon as I return. But please note that my response may be delayed as I respond to all my missed messages.
If, however, you require immediate assistance, please contact [COWORKER’S NAME] at [EMAIL ADDRESS] or [PHONE NUMBER].
Also check out my lesson: Tips for writing better emails in English.
3. Writing the Perfect out of Office Email in English: Model #2: Funny out of office email.
Here is a slightly funny version of the out of office email. Depending on your line of work and professional situation, this could be a way to add warmth and humor to your message.
The tone, as always, is for you to decide. If you work in an extremely formal environment, use Model #1. If you have room for a bit of personality, try Model #2. Remember to personalize the email with your own information in the [SPACES].
Subject: On the beach from [DATE] to [DATE]
Thanks for thinking of me.
But I’m currently on a beach somewhere sunny, and sand and water don’t go well with computers and phones. So I felt it best to totally close my inbox from [DATE] to [DATE].
If you need me, you can try sending a message in a bottle. Or wait until I return, respond to the 300 other messages that are sitting in my inbox, and then get to yours. Either way, it won’t be quick…So if you need a faster answer, it’s best to contact my good coworker [COWORKER’S NAME] at [EMAIL ADDRESS] or [PHONE NUMBER]. [He/She] is kind enough to take care of [his/her] emails + mine while I work on my tan.
Please tell [him/her] how much I appreciate that when you talk with [him/her]!
Also check out my lesson: Polite expressions for email in English #2: Requests.
4. Writing the Perfect out of Office Email in English: Don’t forget to truly take a break!
I am not the best at totally disconnecting, but I also know I’m not alone.
That’s why before I go on vacation and try my best to truly disconnect, I’ll leave this reminder–to you and myself:
You absolutely must truly ‘unplug’ once you turn your out of office message active.
I know. It can be difficult to feel like you can truly be absent— especially if you run your own business.
Or, if you have a boss that expects you to be available on vacation.
Or if you’re American (LOL).
Remember: you can only be effective and valuable in your current role if you take your vacations as seriously as you take your work.
Rest is not the opposite of work, it’s the compliment to work.
And if you’re in a position of leadership?
Your team is watching.
If you demonstrate that “going on vacation” means you’re still always available, or you still do work on vacation…
They’ll never feel as if they can truly take a break, as well. That’s bad for their health, and bad for your business.
So, go on. Take a break. A real one. You’ve earned it. We all have.
Take the next step: Improve your English in the comments
The best way to become more confident using Business English is to practice!
Here’s your weekly challenge for this week:
- Write your own out of office message to me in the comments
- If you want, tell me where you’re going for vacation, or what you will do to recharge your batteries!
If you learned something from this lesson, please share it with your coworkers & friends. You can send your message to them in English for more practice!
Become more fluent & comfortable in conversations
If you would like to take the next step with me, discover my Faster Fluency Conversation Club Membership Program!
It helps you become more confident speaking in conversations, and get a lot more vocabulary on many different topics! And it’s a fabulous community of “English buddies” from around the world!
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Can’t wait to see you in the Club,