OOO, OOTO, OOF: Auto-Responder Tips & Tricks 

When you’re leaving the office – for a vacation, a conference, an emergency – the last thing you want to do is hang around the office searching for a clever way to respond to emails while you’re out.  

Well, the very last thing you probably want is to have to monitor your email the whole time.  

In the digital age, it’s incredibly difficult to disconnect – so it’s great to have a few ready-to-go responses that can auto-send when emails inevitably sneak through.   Here are some of the best tips we could come up with, and a few examples making their way around the world wide web.

1. Remember the basics.

Your auto-responses will surely vary by industry, professional capacity, etc.  But first you’ve got to consider the basics – the reason for the message. You want to let your friends, colleagues, customers, and prospects know:

  • That you’re unavailable
  • When you’ll be back
  • Who they may contact if they need immediate response.


Hello. Thanks for writing. I am out of the office until xx/xx/xxxx and will respond to your email as soon as possible.  If your message is urgent, please feel free to contact

2. Break the mold.


The usual format works, but it won’t get any attention, except perhaps a shrug and a sigh of irritation.  Unexpected, clever messages can even build trust, camaraderie, and even empathy, which is the spice of life (and business).  So don’t be boring!  Try the sorry-not-sorry:

Hi there, thank you for writing me. Fortunately for me, I am out of the office until xx/xx/xxxx.  I’m taking a much-needed sabbatical to refresh and recharge, so I hope you understand if my response is delayed. If your message is urgent, please feel free to contact

I will be out of the office and returning next week. I have incredibly easy access to a phone and email, but I assure you, it will not be used for work purposes.

3. Always be closing.

Many messages also provide or offer information instead of a response, like a helpful guide or webinar, depending on the bulk of the emails expected at that address.  It rarely hurts to promote your brand – let your material work even when you’re not!

Thanks for writing!  I am out of the office. You can expect a response to your email in 1-2 business days. While you’re waiting—here’s something I made for you:

[Include your best materials – guides, ebooks, blog posts, etc.]

I hope these answer some of your questions and make today a little easier. Thank you for your patience!  I hope to speak with you upon my return.

4. Gimme a break.


Humor never hurts!  While keeping an eye on your professionalism, try to provide a little relief from the workday for those stuck in the office… emailing you.

I am on annual leave until dd/mm/yyyy. I will allow each sender one email and if you send me multiple emails, I will randomly delete your emails until there is only one remaining. Choose wisely. Please note that you already sent me one email.

I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.

Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queuing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 13 weeks.

I am away from the office right now. Unfortunately, I will be back tomorrow.

…the auto-responder is heaven-sent.

We’d love to bring its creator a cupcake, but are not totally sure that is possible.  In lieu of cupcakes, we can promise to be armed with witty, efficient messages that honor this beautiful medium.


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