Out of office messages: I am on holiday...over and out

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Just what should you say when leaving an out of office message? Should it be funny, apologetic or just short and simple? 

Most will be using the same message saying something along the lines of: “I am on holiday until X date and will reply to your email when I return. If you need to speak to someone before that, please contact X”.

However, there can be a number of variations on that and some may take the bolder approach of saying: “I am currently on holiday until X date and have been unable to read your email which has now been deleted. Please resend the email after I’m back in the office or if you need to speak someone before that please contact X.”

The ‘automatic’ deletion option might seem attractive. It would neatly avoid the need to go through hundreds of emails when you arrive back in the office, leaving you able to get on with that large list of other tasks that are now much closer to their deadline. Then there is also the fact that a large proportion of these deleted emails are likely to have been routine memos that are no longer relevant anyway.

On the other side though, there are some disadvantages to this approach, primarily the risk that there may be emails from clients or customers that are important for you to read. Would you want to risk them not resending the message? Just how many may not even read the out of office reply – it’s only an automated message – and then not realise their email needed to be resent?

There is also the issue of client or customer care at play – why should they have to go to the bother of putting in their diary the day you are back from holiday in order to get you to read their email? This is not a good way to keep potential clients and customers happy. What if they are on holiday when you are back next week and it will be easier for them to send their message to another firm?

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