In Search of the Best Out of Office Messages

I'll never forget the first time I saw my colleague's Simpson's themed out of office message. I knew she was out of the office because we share a work area, but her Out of Office (OOO) message had me nearly rolling onto the floor in laughter because it was the perfect blend of communication, truth, and humor. It was also atypical and out of the box, which is something I can appreciate. 

I held on to her message for 4 months hoping to get to repurpose it in some way. Well, Christmas came early to this good little elf because I finally get to share it with you (with her permission of course). 

Upon e-mailing Alexis, you would have received this e-mail: 

Hi, I’m Troy McClure! You may remember me from such classic Out of Office Messages as “I’m Taking My Beagle to the Vet” or “I've Got That Bug That's Been Going Around.” I’m here today to talk to you about Alexis G. and the email you just sent her.

(Enter Billy, 8 years old, doe-eyed)

Billy: Mr. McClure? Why is Alexis not answering any emails right now?

Troy: The answer is simple, Billy: Alexis is on vacation and nowhere near her work email.

Billy: When is she going to be coming back?

Troy: She will be back on Monday, August 13.

Billy: Is she going to reply to the email they just sent?

Troy: If it warrants a response, Billy. If it warrants a response…

(Exit Billy)

That’s all for now. Watch for me in the upcoming Out of Office Message “At a Wedding,” coming this fall!

Now, Alexis and I work in a similar position, which means we rarely get to take time off. When we do, we like to go big or go home with our OOO's.

A few weeks later, feeling inspired by Alexis and Troy, and after having just read a book about time management, efficiency, and e-mail, I thought I'd try my own hand at a witty out of office message. Mine was less Simpsons, more zen, but it got the point across.

While tradition has it that I should say I'm on vacation and checking e-mails sporadically during my absence, the truth is, I'm taking a few days off to really unplug, to go where the wind takes me, and to finally enjoy the thread count on my air conditioned sheets.

I'll have my phone with me almost always, but I don't intend to check emails on it.

I'll log on Friday, at some point, to clean through my inbox. If there is an absolute emergency, please put URGENT EMERGENCY in your subject line. Otherwise, I'll do my best to respond to your message when I return, well rested, on Monday.

Here's to enjoying the weekend

You may be asking yourself: Why is Erin going on and on about these e-mail messages? Well, reader, first of all, I'd like to provide you with a little inspiration for your outgoing message, should you fortunate enough to get to take time off this holiday season. Secondly, I'm hoping you might have some funny messages of your own you'd be willing to share with the class. 

If you want to e-mail me  the funniest outgoing messages you've seen -- or used yourself -- I'll post them on the blog (protecting the innocent of course) so we all have a handy resource come vacation time.