Three tips on out of office etiquette

—Chandler Milne | 01.15.16

Three tips on out of office etiquette

Chandler Milne, 01.15.16

Got a vacation coming up? Before you take off to soak up some rays on the beach, hit the slopes in Aspen, or go deep-sea fishing, consider these three things when preparing your coworkers for your absence:

FIRST–if you’re here to set up notifications, read Out of Office in Outlook: How to Set It Up in a Flash.

But back to our Out-of-Office etiquette tips. 

1. Keep your Outlook calendar up to date (both in AND out of office)

Besides being just a good business practice, with the advancements in Microsoft Outlook, your coworkers have visibility into your work calendar at any time. If you’ve got a sloppy calendar you’ll end up disappointing a lot of coworkers and holding up projects when they realize that you, in fact, aren’t in the office but are sipping fruity drinks on a beach.

2. Send calendar appointments to (close) coworkers

Letting your immediate team know of your absence is vital, but it’s easy to miss the mark. An easy way to let your closest coworkers and your direct report know of your vacation is to send them a “Free” calendar appointment. That way they have a visual reminder on their calendar that you aren’t in the office. They can also keep this in mind when scheduling meetings. BUT, there are a few things to consider so that you don’t become a huge annoyance:

  • Don’t set a reminder for the appointment
  • Don’t mark it as anything other than free (they aren’t going to be there with you, so their calendar shouldn’t reflect them as out of the office)
  • Only send it to those that NEED to know. The intern in a totally different department doesn’t need to know that you’ll be strolling the Great Wall of China in three weeks.

3. Be descriptive and helpful with your Out of Office Messages

Before you leave don’t forget to set up your automatic replies (aka Out of Office). This is a modern business must for keeping both internal and external contacts informed of your absence.

Yet, a lot of us miss the mark when writing our scripted replies. Here are some things to consider adding to yours:

  • Tell them the time period of your absence. “In California” isn’t an acceptable automatic reply. Try “On vacation from Tuesday, March 11th till Sunday, March 16th. Back in the office on Monday, March 17th.”
  • Let people know how or if they can reach you. Provide details on email availability, phone numbers, etc.
  • Provide alternate contact information. If you’re climbing the rocky face of some great mountain and someone has an emergency, who else can they reach out to?

Wait, there’s more!

As a bonus, here’s a couple of basic Out of Office templates you are free to use:

Internal Reply:

Hey team,

I’m on vacation from Tuesday, March 11th till Sunday, March 16th. I’ll be back in the office on Monday, March 17th.

I have email at the hotel but will not be checking it very frequently. If there’s an emergency you can try reaching me on my cell (555.555.5555) or you can contact the following:

For X:
Jane Doe
jdoe@example.com
555.555.5556

For Y:
Henry Joe
hjoe@example.com
555.555.5557

Thanks,

Chandler
Cell: 555.555.5555

External Reply:

I’m currently out of the office from Tuesday, March 11th till Sunday, March 16th. I’ll be back in the office on Monday, March 17th to continue our mission of ridding the world of mediocre software use!

My access to email may be limited so please expect a delayed response. If there’s an emergency please reach out to one of the following individuals:

For X:
Jane Doe
jdoe@example.com
555.555.5556

For Y:
Henry Joe
hjoe@example.com
555.555.5557

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Best regards,

Chandler

Maximizing Microsoft Teams as a One-Stop Collaboration Hub

Jessica Roylance, 09.03.20

Since you’ve made the switch to Microsoft Teams, instant messaging and video meetings are happening all over your organization. That’s good, but.

Read More

Use Power Automate: Increase Efficiency Part 3

Jessica Roylance, 08.25.20

Last time, you learned how to automate work in everyday computer applications like Word, Outlook, and Excel. Now, let’s automate workflow between.

Read More

Virtual Communication: Which Tool When?

Alyce Adams, 06.02.20

  Now that you’re working remotely, all communication is virtual. You have access to multiple tools with your Microsoft 365 subscription. But how do.

Read More

Increase Teams Adoption by 400%

Alyce Adams, 04.07.20

Start in the Right Place. Everyone wants to increase Teams adoption, but how do you do it? Getting your users to adopt Teams can be such an uphill.

Read More