David Lanphear
Creative Out of Office Messages

Work Hack: Have Fun When You’re Away

All too often I read “Out of Office” auto reply messages that look a little something like this:

Thank you for your message. I am out of the office starting on Monday, November 3rd and will return Thursday, November 6th. I will be checking my email periodically during this time, but response times may be slower than usual.

For immediate issues, please contact Sue at Sue.Smith@Company.com.

Zero personality. Zero insight into the reason. Zero separation between work and time off.

So I’ve started a new movement. It’s centered around leaving work, but not leaving your personality at the door with you. Here is my latest Out of Office message I left:

Hello There!

Thanks for reaching out! I’m presently pushing the limits of how many breakfast tacos and BBQ briskets a single man can consume in one Austin, TX vacation. Because of this, my hands are likely to be sticky and therefore my messages will be delayed.

The good news is, I’ll be back and cleaned up on Monday October 30th and will touch base then.

If your situation is life or death, please dial 911. However, if your situation is simply urgent, please shoot me a message at (617) 352-3006. Alternatively, you can contact my fantastically gifted co-worker, Dianne, or the world’s best boss, Beth.

Overall, I’ve had some great responses. People go out of their way to reply back and it fuels further conversation upon return. Of course, if you still want to go ‘standard’ you can – but allow yourself some creativity:

Thank you for your email. I am unable to come to the computer right now, but if you leave your name, email address, and a brief message, I will be sure to reply once I return.

In an ode to the traditional voicemail, I’ve modified it to add some old-school personality to a newer form communication medium.

Messages such as these have started a growing movement. Now others who have received my OOO messages are starting to add some fun into their as well:

I have this Normal Rockwell view of the holiday time that rarely matches reality.  I’m talking about snowy nights inside a cozy house with a fire going, surrounded by friends and family, happily making merriment.  The reality is typically more Jerry Springer than Family Circus. Good thing I’m taking an entire week off to enjoy all this fun.  Trust me, if there’s no skiing, your email sounds pretty good right now.

or how about…

Who has two sticks of deodorant and is moving this week?  This guy!  While you enjoy your office, I’ll be hefting boxes.

The office doesn’t sound so bad after all, does it? Which is the point of all of this – to bring personality and enjoyment back to the work day.

What’s your favorite out of office? Add it below in the comments.

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