Searching for the Perfect Out of Office Message

July 29, 2021
As I prepare to fully immerse myself in my final summer Fridays, I want to set myself up for success. I want to create an Out of Office (OOO) message so fun, so fierce, and so fabulous that people will read it and know that I really mean business.

By the time many of you read this, I will be taking the day off. It's a Friday and for this entire summer, I've tried to use up some of the PTO I've accrued over the years by taking Fridays off. I've failed miserably at this goal. If there were an Olympic medal for failing at taking time off, I would've probably earned 10 golds by now.  

Despite my email signature telling people I'll be away from my computer, and despite me checking the box next to my 'out of office' function on my email, most Fridays I log on to my computer at sunrise, work for most of the day, and then go on about my weekend once the clock strikes 3 p.m. -- all while claiming I was 'out of office.' I've basically been lying to my co-workers, clients, and most of all to myself about being off when really I'm on. 

But this Friday, that all stops. 

Feeling the Burn(out)

Like many people in the food and beverage industry these days, it's really hard to hit that 'off' button when it comes to work. This is an industry that is trying so hard to keep up with demand, that its employees are working around the clock to put food on people's tables. 

I'm not in the food and beverage industry so much as I report on the food and beverage industry and even I can't seem to catch my breath most days. I may not go into an office any longer, but I've never worked harder nor have I worked longer hours than I have in the last year. I know I'm not alone. My mental health has taken a beating because of this. I'm chronically anxious due to the stress of trying to getting everything done. We all know chronic anxiety + stress = burnout x exhaustion, so before I find myself catatonic on the couch, I'm going to do something about it: I'm going to start really using my PTO. 

PT-OOO

As I prepare to fully immerse myself in my final summer Fridays, I want to set myself up for success. I want to create an Out of Office (OOO) message so fun, so fierce, and so fabulous that people will read it and know that I really mean business.

A quick Google search has provided me with a few professional-sounding OOO's. While I appreciate the fine folks on LinkedIn and Robert Half for their brief business-sounding prose, I'm looking for something with a bit more wit. 

Amid my deeper dive into Out of Office message research, a few piqued my interest: 

You got this email immediately (classic autoresponder behavior), which means I’m out of office on vacation.

While I hypothetically could reach my email, while I hypothetically do have my phone on hand, and while I hypothetically do have access to WiFi, I’d rather enjoy time with my family. My kids are growing up at the speed of a supersonic jet, and if I blink one more time, they’ll be 35. And I’ll be 73. And I don’t want that.

If you still need to reach me, you can email [email protected]. Or you can email my assistant at [email protected]. They can point you in the right direction.

Looking forward to reconnecting once I’m back.

or

I’m currently out of the office, enjoying some peanuts and Cracker Jacks with my family. Can you guess where I am? That’s okay, you’re busy.

If your message is urgent, fear not — we’ll get it addressed. Try doing one of two things:

Send me an email at [email protected]. Just kidding. That’s not a real email address.
Reach out to my manager at [email protected] in my absence.

I’ll be back in the office on ___ and will happily respond then. Have a great weekend!

or this short, sweet, and to the point one:

I am on annual leave until dd/mm/yyyy. I will allow each sender one email and if you send me multiple emails, I will randomly delete your emails until there is only one remaining. Choose wisely. Please note that you have already sent me one email.

What's your favorite Out of Office message you've ever received? Send me the best OOO you've ever seen and I'll do my best to compile them into an upcoming blog post. 

But don't email me until Monday because, well, I won't be looking at my emails on Friday.