10 Jul 2019
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5 Ways to Up Your Out-of-Office Game

Taking time away from work is always important, but preparing colleagues and clients for your temporary absence can be a bit of a scramble. You’re trying to get all your ducks in a row while watching the clock so you can pull a Flintstone-style exit from the office and get into relaxation mode.

As a small business owner, you can energize your brand by communicating a bit more of your personality. One way to do that is to give your contacts something memorable to hold onto while you’re away.

So why not get a bit creative and give your next OOO message some oomph? Need inspiration? Here are some of the most legendary over-the-top OOO messages we’ve seen in our inboxes.

The Mini Pity Party

We have to hand it to Stevan. Going home to visit family is often both a holiday and … not a holiday. Just in case you thought he might have too much fun, Stevan wants you to know that even on vacation, he’ll be thinking of you (and he hopes you’ll be thinking of him)! A little chuckle and a little empathy, all rolled into one clever OOO message.

“Thank you for your email! I’ll be out of the office for the holiday break, spending time with my family back home in Canada; the weather looks to be fantastic!

Know that I would probably rather be responding to your email; instead I’ll be reliving my childhood character-building experiences of shovelling the driveway 2–3 times a day (that’s me in Kitimat, 1989).

If you can’t wait for my return, at least feel sorry for me. I’ll get back to your email on the 28th, or after I’ve thawed out.”

Source: NewRelic

The Give-It-to-Me-Straight

Yes, work is important, and yes, we’re sure that Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital respects that. What Kopelman also respects? That “out-of-office” means“out-of-office” – and he wants others to respect that too. A little humour (and a lot of office culture) goes a long way to making this one work. But let’s be honest – whenever we write one of those standard-issue emails, what we really want to do is say this instead.

“I am currently out of the office on vacation.

I know I’m supposed to say that I’ll have limited access to email and won’t be able to respond until I return – but that’s not true. My blackberry will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognize that I’ll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.

That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I’m going to experiment with something new. I’m going to leave the decision in your hands.

If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please resend it to interruptyourvacation@firstround.com and I’ll try to respond to it promptly.

If you think someone else at First Round Capital might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant (___________) and she’ll try to point you in the right direction.”

Source: Gizmodo

The Lyricist

A veteran writer of entertaining OOO messages, Steven Nelson, of The Lang Cat, a financial services consultancy, has become known for his creative messages. One of his best auto-responders channels everyone’s favourite ’80s superstar, Rick Astley:

“Never gonna give you up, Never gonna let you down, Never gonna run around and desert you, Never gonna make you cry, Never gonna say goodbye, Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you.

I’m also never gonna reply to your message until 9th August as I’m off on holiday.”

Source: BBC

The Troy McClure

This one has circled the Internet so often, we’re not sure who did it best. But we’re pretty sure that HubSpot Marketing Manager Karsten Köhler did it first and that he’s inspired hundreds of others to create their own.

“Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You might remember me from such Out of Office messages as Avenge My Death If I Don’t Return from dmexco and Bye Now, I’m on an Absurdly Long Cycling Trip.

I’m here today to talk to you about someone you know. Karsten Köhler is out-of-office from Friday, September 16, to Tuesday, September 27. He wanted to me to let you all know he will get back to you after his return. Also, please forward urgent English requests to ________. German requests to______.

That’s all for now. Watch for me in the upcoming out-of-office message, It’s Not a Hangover, It’s Food Poisoning – I Swear! And be safe out there.”

Source: Karsten Köhler
Adding this much fun to an out-of-office auto-responder message breaks up the monotony of the serious, self-important messages we’re accustomed to seeing – and it injects a bit of unexpected creativity into your work persona.

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