Business Advice, Startup Advice

Setting your out-of-office reply this Christmas? From the sensible to the emoji message, here’s five options to consider

Dominic Powell /

With four days to Christmas and the smell of gravy in the air, many entrepreneurs and business owners may have already turned off for the year and embraced some rare time off. But if you haven’t yet, here are some ideas for an efficient, effective or funny out-of-office email reply.

The out-of-office email has become somewhat of a necessary evil in the world of work. It’s nice to assume everyone is taking a holiday break at the same time as you, and that your inbox will receive precisely zero emails over that time, but unfortunately, in the fast-moving business world, it just ain’t the way.

Before we get into some good examples that might get your suppliers chortling as they email you about a pressing order, if you don’t know how to set your out of office, check out this helpful guide from last year.

The sensible option

This option is for: The sensible and efficient businessperson. No nonsense – you want your contacts to know when you’re gone, when you’re back, and how to contact you if necessary.

[A greeting],

Thank you for your email. I’m out of the office and will be back on [date]. During this period I will have limited access to my email. If you need to contact me, I can be reached on [number, other email, mailing address – whatever].

Regards,”

Feel free to ditch the alternative contact method if you don’t want people contacting you at the pool, or alternatively add in even more contact methods (Instagram, carrier pigeon etc.) if you want it to feel like you never left work.

The graph option

This option is for: Workers who are bold, outgoing, and not afraid of sending multiple one megabyte plus emails. You’re low on detail but high on sass.

The emoji option

This option is for: Workers with an exponentially high amount of sass. Your job involves a lot of interaction with young clients who read and send most of their emails on their phone.

The gloating option

This option is for: Those going on an extravagant overseas trip during the break (or at any other time of the year). You want people who email you to know this, but also to make them appropriately jealous.

Below is an option this author definitely didn’t use during a holiday during this year.

“Hi, I am currently undertaking some very important small business studies through an extensive sampling of various coffee shops and restaurants across Europe.

I will return to the office on [date]. For any urgent matters, please direct them to [other email] or my colleague at [alternate contact].

Cheers,”

The truly honest option

This option is for: All of us, really. You’re gonna try your damnedest to not check your emails, and you’re gonna tell everyone you’re not checking them. But really, you can check them, and probably will.

Below is an honest response from American entrepreneur Josh Kopelman from First Round Capital, as reported by Gizmodo. However, Kopelman takes another approach, inflicting just a touch of guilt on those who’d seek to interrupt his holidays.

“I am currently out of the office on vacation.

I know I’m supposed to say that I’ll have limited access to email and won’t be able to respond until I return – but that’s not true. My Blackberry will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognise that I’ll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.

That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I’m going to experiment with something new. I’m going to leave the decision in your hands:

• If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please resend it to [email protected] and I’ll try to respond to it promptly.

• If you think someone else at First Round Capital might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant, Fiona ([email protected]) and she’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Otherwise, I’ll respond when I return…

Warm regards,”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is the lead reporter at StartupSmart.

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