Email communication in business is a staple. It is our go-to for communicating with both individuals and groups of people. It seems with this particularly harsh winter a record number of people I do business with are heading “out of the office” to warm and sunny destinations. You may also be out of the office on a medical leave or even just a day filled with appointments. Best practices suggest that you create an automatic reply to serve those you do business with while you are away. A frequently asked question I get is:
Question: How do I send an automatic reply when I am out of the office in Outlook?
Answer: From Microsoft Outlook “Tools” you will find the “Out of Office Assistant”. For an easy to follow step by step downloadable Power Point guide go to office.microsoft.com.
To communicate effectively in your message, follow these etiquette and content tips:
- Include the date of your return.
- Communicate information about other individuals who they can contact for help in your absence. Include the name(s) of other individuals who can be contacted for urgent matters. Be sure to communicate with the co-worker that is handling urgent needs in your absence and that you have included their contact information for this purpose.
- Remember that if you are setting up one general reply for anyone who emails, be sure it is appropriate for co-workers, clients, friends, strangers and others.
- For safety measures, avoid personal information about where will you be during your absence. Although it may be tempting to share that you will be basking in the sunshine of Tahiti with your entire family for two weeks, it is important to remember that this may be information that may not best to share with everyone.
- You may want to include a warm holiday sentiment if it applies to everyone who receives your reply during a holiday vacation.
- Be careful to take a moment to proofread your message. Your reply is a reflection of your professionalism and could be received by important prospective clients or your supervisor. You may want to construct a draft that can easily be edited to suit your absence that is professional and ready to use when needed.
Thank you for your email. I am away from the office and will return on Monday, April 14th . If your message requires a reply, I will respond when I return. If you need urgent assistance in my absence you may contact John Doe at firstname.lastname@example.org.