…but i’m currently out of the office. I will respond to your email when I return.

Out of office emails are poorly formatted , incredibly boring and, truly, a double edge sword.

1. Their immediacy is annoying. Annoying because you sent the email because you need something and now you find out you’re going to have to wait longer for the recipient to respond.

2. But, their receipt is genuinely helpful – well, when a timeframe is given.

Recently Mashable posted ‘The 9 best out-of-office emails to get you ready for vacation,’ causing me to reflect on this very boring but office staple.

I try to be an fairly upbeat person in the office. I smile. I laugh. I listen. I tell stories. It’s makes the office a much friendlier environment. When I am on leave from the office, I try, in a roundabout way to be the same. I try to weave in a polite but amusing statement in my out-of-office response, in hope I evoke at least a smile on the people who email me (and get frustrated by my absence). Most recently, I returned from the snow to have someone say in the first 30mins, my auto-reply made them laugh and she actually passed it on to another few people in the office. That’s my aim: make the small and banal just a little bit more interesting.

Here’s two recent replies:

“Hi there,

Thanks for your email. Unfortunately for you I’m in sunny Perth right now and will not be returning to Sydney until Wednesday 4 April. I will be sure to respond to your request then.

If your email is urgent, please contact…

Enjoy the rain,



“Hi there,

Thanks for your email. I’m currently on leave carving up the slopes – the snow was too good to pass up. I will be back in the office on Monday 7 July.

If your email is urgent, please contact…

See you on the flip side,



Yesterday my boss was sick. Her out of office was something along the lines of:

“Hi, i’m out of the office sick today however I will be responding to urgent emails. Thanks.”

Professional but uninteresting. Here’s a smile worthy version:

“Hi, I’m out of the office buying shares in Lemsip today. However, I will be responding the urgent emails. Thanks.”

Try it out. Aim for professional, but smile-worthy.


Thanks for your emails. Your email is important to me but remaining upbeat, energetic and smiling is more important so I’m currently enjoying a few days of unplugged annual leave.

But please don’t fret, I’ll be back recharged and at your service on Thursday 2 October.

If your email can’t wait until then, please contact…


Here’s my Christmas/New Year 2014/15 out of office message:

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
‘Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

We’re now finished and the uni closed,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
A welcome break that is 100% unopposed.
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

We won’t be open ‘til two zero one five.
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
January five is the date we will back alive,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

But I’ll be hiking down a small hill called Kozi,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
I’ll return on Tuesday 6 Jan, you see.
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

Your emails can hopefully wait ‘til then,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Because really, truly there’s no real option,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

It’s been a great year for us in Marketing,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
I look forward to all that the new year will bring.
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!


Update 4 March 2015:


Thanks for your email. I’m out of the office at the moment.

You can find me:

a)   At a beach
b)   On a boat
c)   On a beach or boat with a mai tai in my hand
d)   Or somewhere else entirely.

Yes, unfortunately for you I’m in Hawai’i.

I’ll be back on Thursday 5 March to attend to your every need. If your email can’t wait until then, please contact …



Update 25 March 2015:

I’m out of the office today lying horizontal in a dark room. It’s unlikely my aching head will be able to process your request. All medicinal drugs considered, I’ll hopefully be back tomorrow – Wednesday 25 March.

If your email requires immediate attention, please contact …