${ company.text }

Be the first to rate this company   Not rated   ${ company.score } stars     ${ company.industry}     ${ company.headquarters}

Career Resources

${ getArticleTitle(article) }


${ tag.display_name }


${ getCommunityPostText(community_post) }


${ contributor.full_name }

${ contributor.short_bio }

Jobs For Employers

Join InHerSight's growing community of professional women and get matched to great jobs and more!

Sign up now

Already have an account? Log in ›

  1. Blog
  2. Culture & Professionalism
  3. November 15, 2023

10 Out-of-Office Message Examples for Every Scenario

Plus, what to avoid in your message

woman writing an out-of-office message
Photo courtesy of Karolina Grabowska

An out-of-office (OOO) message is like a digital concierge for your email inbox, letting people know that you're away and providing essential information to help them during your absence. 

Crafting an effective OOO message isn’t just about courtesy, it’s a crucial aspect of maintaining clear, professional communication while you're out of the office. Whether you're on vacation, attending a conference, or facing a personal emergency, your message will ensure your email correspondents are informed and your professional image remains intact during your absence. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to create the perfect OOO message, including what information to highlight, what information to avoid, and ten example messages for various scenarios.

Read more: 8 'Sorry for the Late Response' Alternatives to Use

What is an out-of-office message?

An OOO message is an automatic reply that notifies people who send you emails that you are currently unavailable and provides information on when you will return. It serves several purposes, such as:

  • Setting expectations: An OOO message manages the expectations of your correspondents by informing them about your unavailability, ensuring they don't wait for a response.

  • Offering alternatives: It helps redirect urgent queries to a colleague or offers an alternative contact method in case of emergencies.

  • Politeness and professionalism: It demonstrates courtesy and professionalism by acknowledging the sender's message and providing a timeframe for your return.

How can you decide when you should set an away message? The protocol varies by job and industry, but generally speaking, you should set an OOO message if you’ll be gone for more than two days. If you work in a fast-paced industry where leaders or clients expect a response within hours, you might need to set an OOO message if you’re gone for just an afternoon. If you’re unsure whether you should set one, ask your manager.

What information should you include in your OOO message?

Here are the basics you need to include in your message:

  • A greeting: Begin with a polite greeting. A simple "Hello" or "Hi" works well.

  • Confirmation of your absence: Clearly state that you are out of the office and specify the dates of your absence. Let senders know that you may have limited or no access to email during your absence and that you will respond upon your return.

  • Your expected return date: Inform your contacts when you will be back in the office or available to respond to emails. If you don’t have a return date—or don’t want to share it—simply say you’ll respond at your earliest convenience.

  • An alternative or emergency contact: Provide information on a colleague or department that can assist in your absence. Include their name, email address, and phone number. If necessary, offer emergency contact details or instructions for high-priority situations.

  • Reason for absence: This is optional. You can include a brief mention of why you are out of the office, but be cautious about disclosing too much personal information.

  • An expression of gratitude: Conclude with a courteous thank you or express your appreciation for the sender's understanding.

Note here: Make sure you have a conversation with your team about planning for how to handle requests and delegate responsibilities until you return. Get approval from any coworkers before including their email address in your out-of-office message.

What should you not include in your OOO message?

Now that you know the basics, here’s what not to include.

Detailed personal information

You absolutely don’t have to share any personal details, such as your vacation destination or specific reasons for your absence. For example, if you’re on parental leave, simply saying you’re “on leave” or “out of the office” is sufficient. Leaving out the specifics can help you avoid assumptions, intrusive questions, or even discrimination.

Lengthy explanations or negative language

People appreciate brevity and clarity. You don’t need to write paragraphs explaining why you’re gone—keep the message concise. While remaining brief, avoid any negative or unnecessary phrases like, "I'm swamped right now" or "I'm overwhelmed so I’m taking a vacation."

An alternative way to contact you

Don't commit to checking email during your absence if you won't be able to do so. Work and wellbeing psychologist Kate Sullivan says, “I'm adamant that when you're out of the office and away from work, you should be out of the office. We all need time to rest and recover, and to be human beings instead of workers. Anything that needs to be handled at work can be done by someone else, or can wait until your return.”

Jokes or sarcasm

Humor doesn't always translate well in written communication, so it's best to keep the message professional. Sullivan says, “It's fine to have a light tone in your communications, especially when you're in an email conversation with someone directly, but your OOO is more of a blast message—including a cat meme or silly quote could backfire if your OOO goes to, say, a new client prospect or the sales director at a company you've been trying to engage.”

Read more: Want to Feel Rejuvenated? Take Time Off Work

10 examples of effective out-of-office messages

Now, let's explore ten example OOO messages for various scenarios:

1. Basic OOO message


Thank you for your message! I am currently out of the office and will not be able to respond until (return date). If your matter requires immediate attention, please contact (colleague's name) at (colleague's email) or (colleague's phone). I appreciate your understanding and will get back to you as soon as possible upon my return.

Best regards,

(Your name)

2. Vacation OOO message

Hi there,

I'm taking some much-needed time off and will be out of the office until (return date). If you require immediate assistance, please reach out to (colleague's name) at (colleague's email). Thank you for your patience, and I look forward to reconnecting when I'm back.

Warm regards,

(Your name)

3. Conference OOO message


Thank you for your email. I'm currently attending a conference and will not be available until (return date). If your matter is urgent, please contact (colleague's name) at (colleague's email) or (colleague's phone). Otherwise, I will respond to your emails as soon as possible upon my return.


(Your name)

4. Extended leave OOO message


I am on an extended leave and won't be able to respond to emails until (return date). I'll follow up with you as soon as possible upon my return. For any urgent matters, please reach out to (colleague's name) at (colleague's email) for assistance. 


(Your name)

5. Emergency OOO message


Thank you for reaching out. I'm currently dealing with a family emergency and will have limited access to email. If your matter is urgent, please contact (colleague’s name) at (colleague’s email). Your understanding is appreciated.

Thank you,

(Your name)

6. Training OOO message


I am attending a training program and will not be available from (leave date) until (return date). In my absence, please contact (colleague's name) at (colleague's email) for any immediate needs. 


(Your name)

7. Medical leave OOO message


I am currently on leave and am unable to respond at the moment. In case of urgent matters, please contact (colleague's name) at (colleague's email). I'm grateful for your understanding during this time.


(Your name)

8. Parental leave OOO message


I'm thrilled to announce that I am on parental leave to spend time with my new family addition and am not checking emails. You can contact (colleague’s name) at (colleague’s email) in my absence. I appreciate your understanding and look forward to reconnecting soon.


(Your name)

Read more: A Maternity Leave Out-of-Office Message to Use

9. Remote work OOO message


I am currently working remotely and may have limited access to email. I will do my best to respond to your message as soon as possible. If your matter is time-sensitive, please contact (colleague's name) at (colleague's email). 


(Your name)

10. Special occasion OOO message


I'm celebrating a special occasion and will be out of the office until (return date). If you need immediate assistance, please contact (colleague's name) at (colleague's email). I appreciate your understanding and look forward to catching up when I'm back.

Best regards,

(Your name)

Read more: All the Best Email Sign-Offs & Why Email Etiquette Still Matters

About our expert${ getPlural(experts) }

About our author${ getPlural(authors) }

Share this article

Don't Miss Out

Create a free account to get unlimited access to our articles and to join millions of women growing with the InHerSight community

Looks like you already have an account!
Click here to login ›

Invalid email. Please try again!

Sign up with a social account or...

If you already have an account, click here to log in. By signing up, you agree to InHerSight's Terms and Privacy Policy


You now have access to all of our awesome content

Looking for a New Job?

InHerSight matches job seekers and companies based on millions of workplace ratings from women. Find a job at a place that supports the kinds of things you're looking for.