By: LUMO Leaders
I just got back from a delightful vacation. When I sat down at my desk to review the emails and Slack messages that were patiently waiting for me, I was surprised by how many comments I received about my out of office autoreply. People really loved it, and reached out to me socially (e.g. with no work agenda) to connect with me about it.
It’s always funny to me when something I write–something that, to me, is very simple and takes very little thought–makes a disproportionate impact on others.
The thing about my writing is that I write the way I talk. It’s always my intention to let people know what’s up with me in an authentic way. And I like to let people know exactly what they can expect from me. I think about how I feel and what I need people to know, and then I consider how that will land with them, and what they may need in response to what I’ve shared.
I know that sounds complicated, so I’ll make it easier to grasp by sharing my most recent out of office autoreply:
Hello, hello, hi!
I am away from my desk, devices, and work from August 1st through August 7th.
I’ll return to my desk renewed, joyful, and back in business on Monday, August 8th.
In my absence, the following teammates are happy to support you:
For scheduling or admin questions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions related to coaching, contact: email@example.com
For anything else, my partners are on the clock & ready to rock:
CEO, Sarah Olin – firstname.lastname@example.org
COO, Elena Arecco Bridgmon – email@example.com
I hope you’re grabbing some R&R for yourself.
It’s simple, right?
What’s up with me
When I’ll be available again
How my reader can get their needs met without me
A warm wish for my reader
A sense of who I am for people who don’t know me yet
Out of office replies are a great opportunity to…
Set crystal clear boundaries: Can they reach you? How? And under what circumstances do you want to be available? Don’t be afraid to be clear. Making a public declaration will also help you respect your own boundaries.
Let people know what they can expect of you (or not!) in your absence.
Direct people towards the support they need in your absence.
Create connection through joy and humor, and let them know who you are!
My personal out of the office autoreply hero is one of our coaches, Mboone Umbima. She takes the O.O.O. response to a whole new level. Here’s my personal fave:
Hello there! Mboone, here!
You may remember me from such classic out of the office messages as, “I’m at the Unknown Brewery – True Story,” or “Visiting My Family in Nairobi.”
About the email you just sent to me…I will respond as soon as I can.
That’s all for now.
Watch for me in the upcoming Out of Office Message “I am away from my desk traveling to my kitchen” coming this spring!
Interested in trying something like this before your next vacation? Drop a note in your email signature and see who notices. Maybe it’s your favorite quote? It could be a link to a rad Spotify playlist! For me, it’s creating clear parameters around when people can expect to hear from me:
This is a calm inbox: Emails are checked from 9am-5pm (Monday thru Friday).
What kind of Easter egg message would you like to leave for the people you communicate with? Wanna share? Email me, Anna, I’d love to banter.
Want more? Here are some other blog posts you might be interested in.