- Be clear about the time period you’ll be gone.
- State whether or not you’ll be monitoring email.
- Advise who to contact for urgent issues while you’re gone.
No need to get cutesy about it – just state the facts and get out of there. For example:
I’ll be out of the office the week of Sept. 1st and will not have access to email. For any urgent issues while I’m away, please contact Shirley at Shirley@EmailLemonade.com. Thank you!
It sounds pretty simple, but people often leave out #2 or #3 (especially when it comes to out of office messages for business travel). As a result, your coworkers are left in limbo and don’t know how or whether to move forward without you. You’re probably familiar with that frustration, so avoid making the same mistake.
While setting up a clear out of office message is easy and essential, if you really want to make a graceful exit for a few days, there’s some extra prep required. Be sure to:
- Give close coworkers a heads up. Especially if you’re going to be out for 3 or more days, it’s nice to give advance notice to people who work closely with you. That way, they aren't caught off guard when they receive your out of office message and will have already made contingency plans.
- Tie up loose ends. If you have a project due while you’re gone, but you can’t wrap it up in time, either find a way for someone else to temporarily take over or notify the relevant parties that you won’t hit the deadline. The key is to communicate the situation before you leave. Otherwise, people are going to get a nasty surprise while you’re gone, which hurts your credibility and zaps the goodwill you've established.
If you've covered off these steps, you’re ready to get out there and enjoy your vacation. (Just remember – if your out of office message says you won’t be accessing or responding to email, don’t do it!) Have a good one!