The Summer Out of Office – Avoid Getting Burned

Written by  Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The dreaded ‘out of office’ automated reply rules the summer months. It’s a pleasure to write and a real horror to receive and while often it is little more than a minor inconvenience, there are ways to make everybody’s life a little easier as the summer sun beckons.

  1. Talk holiday – Tell anyone and everyone and tell them again. Shout it, tweet it, tattoo it on your forehead. Giving your colleagues and clients plenty of notice is just good practice and allows everybody to plan accordingly.
  2. Don’t build walls – An automated message can be frustrating for customers to receive if it is too vague. If not written well, it can convey a poor impression of your workplace culture. Make your return date clear and offer alternative contacts for urgent correspondence.
  3. Communicate with your colleagues – Agree with your colleagues to handle certain incoming correspondence that may occur. If you can divide this amongst more than one person and category, it decreases the extra workload and enables transparency for everybody. E.g. For finance contact Bill ... For sales contact Ben.
  4. Be realistic – Ultimately everybody appreciates honesty. When you return, allow yourself time to organise the emails you have received in the interim. Don’t promise everybody an immediate response the second you return. Allow yourself time to liaise with colleagues and determine what was picked up while you were away. In the rare event of anything urgent, make contact and advise you are catching up and will prioritise this issue.
  5. Talk holiday some more – Catch up with everybody. Customers don’t always want to deal with an office drone, when you’ve caught up, give them a call, let them know you’re back and what a great time you had (if they ask!)
  6. Say Thankyou – Your colleagues can make your return to work so much easier if they’ve picked up some of your workload while you were away. They’ve kept customers happy and your inbox light, a stick of rock or melted fruit chews can go a long way!

While this seems like simplicity, it is surprising how often an automated response can offer no transparency and quickly incite confusion and frustration amongst colleagues and customers alike!

Dataplan Payroll Limited t/as Dataplan Charity, 1 Prince Albert Gardens, GRIMSBY, DN31 3AG.
Tel: 03331 123456 Email:

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