Show up when you’re O-O-O

When you’re “Out of the Office” just how “Out” of the office are you?  And do you manage others’ expectations whilst you are (including your own?)

With the holiday season upon us, this is a timely way to plan your exit strategy and still look after your connections.

I’ve collected some ‘jaw-droppingly bad’ Out-of-Office bounce-backs over the years…

(Best one: “I’m away from the office so contact me again on my return” – No dates, no alternatives, no clue) I thought it would be useful for you to use a simple structure for your email ‘Out of Office’ bounce-back.

The simple-to-follow formula of Acknowledge/Inform/Guide is the most efficient and most helpful to the recipient I’ve come across. 

It’s also the safest bet to enable you to come across to your clients, customers and colleagues as professional, helpful and thoughtful – even when (or especially when) you’re not there.

Depending on how you’ve decided to manage being away, I suggest doing one of the following:

 1. Reading your emails regularly while you’re away but buy some time (I don’t recommend this but if you are…)

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until Month, Date.
  • Inform: I’ll be reading and responding to my emails in the meantime and will do this once a day.  There may be a delay in responding to you.
  • Guide: If your message is urgent and you need immediate assistance, please email John Smith, Title, who will help you. You can email him at — or call him on 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.

2. Someone’s reading them, sorting out the ones you need to read on your return

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X.
  • Inform: My colleague, Jim Smith, Title will be accessing my emails during my absence and will ensure any requiring urgent attention, are handled while I’m away.
  • Guide: If you want to speak to Jim Smith or call him direct while I’m away, he can be contacted at —– or you can call him on 123 456 7890

3. Read them only when you return

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m out-of-the-office on my holidays at the moment.
  • Inform: I will return to the office again on August X and in the meantime have no access to my emails
  • Guide: If you require immediate assistance, please contact Jane Smith, Title, who will be happy to help you. You can email Jane at ——- or call her direct on: 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.

There’s always a balance to achieve and to weigh up how your emails impact your time and your sense of peace whilst you’re away – it’s a careful decision you have to make yourself. There’s always a rub!

 You may, or may not agree but this quote sums up the point here:

“Time for work – yet take much holiday, for art’s and friendship’s sake”.

George de Wilde

 In other news…


Deciding to have a bathroom overhauled at home always sends up tons of dust, noise, singing builders and mess AND it will be lovely when it’s done.  Here’s the interim process below!

We took a break to come to the seaside – can you guess the song my T-Shirt references?  It’s one of my all-time faves 😍

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