Are you OUT OF your OFFICE mind?

13 Nov

At the beginning of another crazy week at work, I took a moment to check the calendar (and prepare myself emotionally) for the fun I could anticipate on the agenda. To my surprise, I saw one of the date blocks shaded in a special color, denoting a federal holiday. Referencing the federal holiday list, the joy washed over me at the site of a rare Friday federal leave day in my very near future! (Thank you for your service, Veterans!)

So when Thursday afternoon rolled around, I wrapped up my projects for the day, set the to-do list for the following week, watered the plant… and – oh, joy – prepared to set up the lovely Out-Of-Office (OOO) reply for my email account.

You might think that setting up an email OOO is a trivial and simple undertaking that anyone should have no problem writing. But given my recent feelings of surprise and aggravation while reviewing some of my fellow colleagues’ unfortunate OOO replies, I would like to take a moment to review some general “Dos and Don’ts” to ensure the rest of us don’t embarrass ourselves!


Here are few snippets from the “Don’t” category:


The High and Mighty

“…I will respond to your message at my earliest convenience.”

At your earliest convenience? Oh, but of course, please, because I wouldn’t want to bother you with this work stuff when you probably have several cat videos on YouTube to watch and office gossip to catch up on first. Thank you so much for even considering my message for a response, Your Highness.


The Fibber

“…I will be on work-related travel to our California hub with no access to email during this time.”

So, no access to your work-related email during your work-related travel? Sure. Something tells me that your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram messages and tags will be responded to in a timely fashion, though.


The Mystery

“I am out of the office and will respond to your email upon my return.”

Soooo… Any idea when you might be coming back? A day? A month? Is there someone else I should contact or should I wait for you? Maybe I should pull out my crystal ball. Maybe I should just give up and jump out the window. Thanks for the info.


And as for the “Do” category…


Let’s be real – even the most professional and responsible OOO reply can be torn to shreds:

The jig is up.

The jig is up.


The verdict? Let’s keep in simple, people…

Brief. Informative. Pleasant. Enough! Seriously.


Please share some of your best (and worst!) out-of-office messages in the comments!


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