17 Out-of-Office Message Examples + Templates

17 Out-of-Office Message Examples + Templates

Out-of-office messages are autoresponder emails that usually go something like this:

“Hi there, I’m out of the office until DAY OF WEEK, DATE, with limited access to email. If you require immediate assistance, please email […]”

But they can be so much more. You can use them as a tool to show your personality, generate leads, and entertain your audience.

Let’s look at some unique and personable out-of-office messages that you can use as inspiration next time you set automatic replies, for different occasions (plus some templates you can copy and paste today).

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What Is an Out-of-Office Message?

Autoresponder emails or out-of-office (OOO) messages are auto-reply messages that inform people reaching out that you’re absent from work for an extended period of time.

The reason for out-of-office messages is to let recipients know that you’re away and won’t be responding to their email until you return. This clarifies you’re not ignoring the recipient and that there will be a delay in your reply.

Out-of-office messages also help to guide the recipient in the right direction if they’re looking for information while you’re away or a point of contact to reach out to about urgent matters.

Common reasons for out-of-office messages are:

  • Vacation
  • Business trips
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave
  • Medical Leave

What to Include in Your Out-of-Office Message

Although every out-of-office message is different, here are some common elements:

  • The dates of your absence 
  • The reason for your absence (optional)
  • Point of contact for urgent requests
  • Links or resources to help the recipient while you’re away

What Not to Include in Your Out-of-Office Message

Here are some elements you should avoid in your out-of-office messages:

  • A lengthy message with too many details
  • A specific time you or your point of contact will reply (avoid false promises)
  • Grammatical errors and typos
  • A point of contact that hasn’t given you permission to include their information

Vacation Out-of-Office Message Examples

Our brains love surprises. What’s more, research has shown that small surprises that feel like they were “just for you” can spawn some incredibly strong goodwill from the receiver.

Next time you go on vacation, try surprising your customers with an out-of-office message that breaks the mold. Here are four of our favorite examples of out-of-office messages for inspiration.

1. Include a poem in your out-of-office message

Write a poem.

Below is an example from our Product Education Manager (Note: she truly raised the bar for writing out-of-office messages):

out of office message example for vacation

2. Include a GIF to make your auto-response more fun

Everyone can appreciate the excitement of pushing work aside to go on vacation.

Bring this to life by linking to a GIF in your vacation responder message. Here’s an example out-of-office reply:

out of office example with gif

Not only are you giving your recipient something they can relate to with humor, but a GIF makes your message memorable. As Moz explains, “There’s an emotional component to a great GIF that mainlines sentiments straight through the cerebral cortex.”

3. Funny out-of-office messages to remind others you’re on vacation

When to use: If you’re absolutely unavailable but you want to deliver some humor with your message.

Below is an out-of-office message example from our former head of marketing, for his time away at Burning Man. Notice the picture that he includes–it’s strategically placed. The picture superiority effect teaches us that including an image with text increases a person’s information recall two days later by 55%.funny out of office message example

4. Include a photo of an animal so your out-of-office message sticks

Research from Hiroshima University found that looking at animal pictures actually increases focus and productivity at work. Including a photo (or two) could help create a positive attitude toward you and increase the likelihood that they remember your email.

Here is an out-of-office message example using baby animals to attract your attention:

out of office message example using an image

mailMake all emails home runsDon’t stop with the perfect out of office message

5. Acknowledge your colleagues in your out-of-office

Is someone covering for you while you’re gone? Acknowledge how awesome they are for helping you out. A few kind words can go a long way — especially if you receive an email from an important customer or prospect while you’re gone and are directing them to your colleague’s email address or phone number.

When you compliment your coworker who will receive requests in your absence, it has a two-fold effect.

  1. It makes that person look trustworthy in the eyes of the reader (and likely strengthens your working relationship)
  2. It shows your reader that you’re kind-spirited and a team player
  3. It directs them to whom they should bring urgent matters

Here’s one such out-of-office email example (we received it from a blog subscriber in response to an email we sent):

out of office message example for a conference

6. Make your message memorable with emojis

Emojis are officially a language unto themselves, and they’ll help you catch the attention of whoever has sent you an email.

vacation out of office example with emojis

Tip: Looking to revamp your email signature? Check out our guide here –> 13 Email Signature Examples + Templates

Using your Out-of-Office Message for Lead Generation

Your out-of-office message may be read by someone who already knows you, is actively reading email, and wants something from you. Sounds like a great time to share content that helps build trust and drive more sales.

7. Sign up for our course via this autoresponder

Below is an out-of-office message example from our own team, linking to our free 7-day course on sales prospecting.

Unsure of what resources you should be linking to? Try checking in with your marketing team about new collateral worth highlighting.

out of office message example for lead generation

8. Working the sales funnel with an offer in your out-of-office

We love this example from Upserve’s Director of Marketing, Jesse Noyes. He knows his audience, anticipates what people are emailing about, and provides lead-generating content that offers immediate answers to questions.

out of office message example

Business Trip Out-of-Office Message Examples

Traveling for work might be a standard part of your job, but it doesn’t mean your email can’t be unique.

9. Connect with conference-goers using your autoresponder

If you’re traveling to a conference that you expect many of your contacts to be at, too, then use your out-of-office message as a networking opportunity. By including some information about your trip and your phone number, you may be able to network with colleagues you may not have expected.

Here’s a great example from Sales Consultant Blair Lineham:

out of office example for a business trip

pencil-altTired of re-writing the same emails? Save those gems as Templates today

10. Use your autoresponder as a cold email

Remember the AIDA cold email formula? It also works as an out-of-office reply by captivating your reader’s attention all the way through to the call to action.

Here’s a great example of how this works from Ann Handley of MarketingProfs. Ann begins with a rhetorical question that grabs her reader’s attention and builds interest with her subsequent details and fun facts. She then creates desire with the way she describes the conference and lists a call to action with the conference website and a link to her Instagram account.

Use your autoresponder as a cold email

Pro tip: To make sure you don’t forget to set an OOO for your next confirmed trip(s), take 5 seconds to schedule a Send Later email to remind yourself. Schedule it for your last day of the office, and we’ll place it at the top of your inbox at the best time for you.

Funny Out-of-Office Examples

These final funny out-of-office examples are purely for entertainment. A little humor can go a long way in building rapport with your network.

11. Add a reference or joke to your message

Here’s a great example of a funny out-of-office message:

funny out of office message example

12. Use a fun fact in your autoresponder to let people get to know you

Have some interesting facts up your sleeve? This one’s for you.

out of office message example: Use a fun fact in your autoresponder

13. Use your autoresponder to remind people you are human

TL;DR Robots > Humans. Here’s a hilarious example provided by Jim Julius.

funny out of office message example

Personal Leave Out-of-Office Message Examples

14. Holiday

Here’s a great example of a fun and high-spirited out-of-office message for the holidays. 

Holiday out of office message example

15. Maternity/Paternity Leave

For Maternity/Paternity leave out-of-office messages, you can go the classic route or have some fun with it. The example below pokes some fun at herself and then guides the recipient in the right direction.

Maternity/Paternity Leave out of office message example

16. Medical Leave

When it comes to medical leaves, not a lot of detail is necessary. Give your recipients a heads up so that they respect your privacy/time, but there’s only so much you want to share publicly. Communicate the details that are necessary.

Medical Leave out of office message example

17. Short-Term Out-of-Office Message

When you’re out of the office for a few hours and don’t want to leave anyone hanging, a short-term out-of-office message lets the recipient know you’ll be back in a few hours. You can even provide a contact for them to reach out to if it’s an urgent matter.

Short-term out-of-office message

Free For The Taking: 8 Out-Of-Office Email Templates

Ready to write your own, but not wanting to start from scratch? Here are 8 examples to copy and paste (then customize).

We surveyed our team, did some research, and asked around to compile the top 8 out-of-office email examples.

Next time you find yourself on the cusp of vacation or a work trip, consider these out-of-office email template examples. Copy and paste as you like.

1. Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Subject: I’m Out, But My Colleague Is In

Thanks for your email. I’m currently on holidays with my [friends/family] for the first time in (what seems like) forever.

For urgent matters, [first name of colleague] will help you. [S/he] doesn’t have a cape, but [s/he] is basically super[man/woman].

[Your first name]

2. Smoke Signals Welcomed

Subject: Bonding with Nature

I am out of the office and bonding with nature from [date of departure] to [date of return]. I have little to no cellphone service and no wifi. Smoke signals are the most reliable form of communication.

[Insert colleague or team’s contact information].

Thank you, and if your matter isn’t urgent, I will talk to you on [date of return].
[First Name]

3. Fun Facts

Subject: Not here but facts for you

Hello! I am off for the week—gone from [Day of week departing] to [Day of week returning] with limited access to email. If you require immediate attention, please contact [colleague name] at [colleague email address].

If not, here are some facts that you might find interesting, before I return:
[Fun fact 1] [Fun fact 2] [Fun fact 3] [And so on] [Your first name]

4. Adorable Animal

Subject: Out of Office But

Hello! I am off for the week—gone from [Day of week departing] to [Day of week returning] with limited access to email. If you require immediate attention, please contact [colleague name] at [colleague email address].

If not, then please enjoy this [picture/video] of an [type of animal] [action it’s doing]:

[Image/video here] [Your first name]

5. Expect Delays

Subject Line: Will Reply, But Expect Delay

Hello — I’m out of the office today [doing X]. While I will be able to answer you today, please expect a slight delay. For anything urgent, please contact [team distribution email].

6. Conference Connection

Subject Line: I’m at [Conference Name], Are You?

Thanks for your email. I’ll be away from the office until [date returning] and will respond as soon as I can.

For all support requests/needs, please reach out to [team distribution email] and one of my colleagues will be happy to assist you.

If you’re interested in signing up for [your product or service], feel free to reach out to my manager [First Name Last Name] at [manager email address].

If you’ll be at [conference name] [Month gone, date leaving – date returning], let me know and I’d love to find a few minutes to connect. You can learn more about [your company name]’s [conference name] presence [“here” — hyperlink applicable landing page], including [X], [Y], and [Z].

Don’t forget to smile!

7. I’m On a Plane

Subject Line: Out of Office: [Day of Week You’re Out, Date]


Thanks for reaching out.

I will be out of office on [Day of Week], [Date] with limited availability (depending on the plane’s internet!).

I’ll respond to your message as fast as possible, and/or you can call my cell phone and leave a voicemail at the number in my signature. In the meantime, please contact [colleague name] at [preferred method of contact].

Have a great day!

8. Lead Gen

Subject Line: Helpful Content While I’m OOO

Hey there,

This message is automated because until [date return] because [reason you are out of office]. I’ll get back to you when [something pithy here or a simple “I return to the office”].

Did you email me about [your company’s realm of expertise]? Well then, no need to wait. Get our [piece of lead gen content–insert link here] now.

Talk soon,

[First Name]


Want to file more than one for the future? Good news: you can stash them right in your Gmail or Outlook inbox.

Instructions on Setting up Out-Of-Office Message in Outlook

Here’s how to set up an out-of-office message in Outlook:

1. Click File, then “Automatic Replies”

2. Select “Send automatic replies”

3. Inside the “Inside My Organization” tab, write your message

Instructions on Setting up Out-Of-Office Message in Outlook

4. Click “Ok”

Instructions on Setting up Out-Of-Office Message in Gmail

Here’s how to set up an out-of-office message in Gmail.

1. Click Settings, then “See all settings”

2. Scroll down to “Vacation responder”

3. Select “Vacation responder on”

4. Fill in the first day, last day, subject line, and message

Instructions on Setting up Out-Of-Office Message in Gmail

5. Click “Save changes”

This article was updated on March 13, 2024.

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