Anyway, we refer to OOF as Out of Office because we create an Out of Office message, even though the facility for getting this done is OOF.
- - - - -
How do you use your Out of Office reply system?
Here are a few options:
- None Allowed
Some people turn it off because they don't want auto-replies going out of the office. It just alerts spammers that they've found a legitimate address.
- Not Used
I personally rarely use them. Important email to my company rarely goes to me. I travel a lot and get back to people when I can. Most of the time, my clients have no idea when I'm out of town. And most of my Internet friends don't care where I am.
- Detailed Information
Some folks give great, detailed information about how to proceed in their absense.
This is an actual OOF reply. I've changed the name so you don't go break into his house while he's on vacation:
Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2008 9:18 PM
Subject: RE: Karl's SMB Email August 25th
[This is an automated reply from Craig xxxxxxxx]
I'm on a family vacation through September 1st. I won't be checking email or the phone while
I'm away. For a prompt response, or computer support, please resend your email to
email@example.com. Our office manager David can put you in touch with any of our techs,
and we'll help get your issue addressed quickly.
While I'm gone, the rest of xxxxxxxx team is here to support you. xxxxxxxx's weekly
webinars are happening every week:
Our weekly tips newsletter comes out each Monday:
And of course, the rest of the technical team is here to make sure your computers are running
smoothly. Thanks for your email.
KP Note: I love that reply. Lots of useful information. It gives a real sense that you're going to be taken care of while Craig's out of the facility.
- Short And to The Point
This message also gives clear information on how things will work in the recipient's absense, but is pretty sparse:
Apologies, but I'm not currently available. If your enquiry is business critical & thus very urgent, please call my office on 0845-123-4567 and ask to speak with Tina.
Alternatively, I'll respond to your email as soon as possible.
Many thanks for your message and your patience!
- Or Just Plain Fun
This one is not anonymous because it's very clever and Robbie's back from vacation, so you're less likely to break into his house.
Thurs 21st - Monday 25th August:
Lift tickets - stupidly expensive.
Accommodation on snow - outrageous.
Hiring skis, boots, poles, goggles etc etc - more money than I've got.
Not having to think about anything other than avoiding trees & avalanches whilst shooshing down the snowy slopes of Thredbo for 3 days? Priceless. :-)
Sorry folks but I'll be either up a mountain or down in the bar, returning Tuesday 26th & so if urgent, please contact Michelle Agudera on firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 9870 2308.
The World's Worst Skier
Just as with every other thing in your organization, your out of office (OOF) reply should be intentional. It should get the message across both in terms of content (how to get help) and tone (friendly, business-like, stuffy, etc.).
What goes out when you're not in?