When it comes to the last few days before the vacation, people fall into one of two camps: 1) those who keep looking at the clock and 2) those who are so busy before they leave that they may even forget to set up an out-of-office (OOO) email message.
If you’re like me, you probably fall on team two. That doesn’t leave much time to get creative. But if you plan ahead, you may be able to create some exhilaration.
In this post, I’ll respond to an OOO message and share some of the best examples I found on Google, as well as some of my co-workers.
Out of office message
An out of office message is an automated email sent by an email account that is temporarily not verified by its owner. Every new e-mail to this account triggers the vacation message, which is sent directly to the sender of the original e-mail. Most email service providers allow you to enable this option and customize your message.
Out of office messages, also known as “autoresponder emails”, determine the scope. From hilarious to clever to snarky, this message can both show your personality and let the sender know that you are out of office.
While you can keep it simple, you can have some fun with it too.
What should I put on my out of office message?
First things first, let’s go through the basics of an OOO email. Your out-of-office message usually includes the following:
- A short sentence “I’m not in the office”.
- The date or time range in which you are traveling.
- Who to contact if the sender needs immediate attention.
- A deregistration.
When you put it all together, your autoresponder would read something like this:
Thank you very much for your email. I am currently out of office until MM / DD / YYYY. If you need help, email my colleague at email@example.com.
But that sounds boring, doesn’t it? Fortunately, there are ways to spice up your OOO message by adding humor in just the right places.
If you are unsure of yourself, try our OOO free email generator to compose a message that perfectly captures who you are and where you are going.
Recommended Resource: OOO Email Generator
Compose your OOO email by clicking here.
Funny out of office messages
- I’ll email you as soon as I’m defrosted.
- If found, contact someone other than me.
- I’ll get in touch with you when I return to civilization.
- If you need to get in touch with me, go to my home country, Florida.
- I know I should say I have limited access to email, but …
- Hi, my name is Troy McClure.
- The bad news is that I’m out of office. The good news is that I’m out of office.
- I’m out of the office right now and probably chilling out on the beach. Enjoy your work week.
- Can you guess where i am
- Holiday celebration and debauchery ahead. Be careful (if you dare).
- Thank you very much for your email. I already love it.
- Die hard quiz.
- Here are 10 things I am grateful for.
- I’m watching Christmas movies. See you later.
- Thank you for your consideration during this festive or non-festive time.
- I’ll get in touch with you as soon as I’m back from my long-awaited trip to the refrigerator.
- The doorbell just rang. It’s the UPS driver. He loads me on the truck.
Away messages for vacation
1. “I’ll email you as soon as I’m defrosted.”
When people go on vacation, they mostly travel to a warm, tropical place …
But some of us are not that lucky. Or if we’re traveling north in winter, we’ll run into snow, won’t we?
While this may not be so lucky for us, we can use the bad weather for comedic relief. You can even add a screenshot of the weather forecast for a sense of realism. Not only will this make senders laugh, but it will also generate a certain level of empathy – which is often the key to good content.
Thank you for your message! I am currently buried in the snow and will get back to you as soon as I thaw on Jan 2nd.
And if you think I’m lying …
I have to go, my fingers are frozen. If you really need me, either get a shovel and dig me out of here or contact my colleague Anna, who is not frozen under the snow with frozen fingers, at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. “If found, contact someone other than me.”
If your email client allows, you can always use a picture to express your mood of absence, like this one. After all, they say a picture is worth a thousand words – and visual content is still essential for successful marketing.
In this picture, you let people know you are OOO with a “Missing” notice on a milk carton. Genius. Be careful – this type of autoresponder works best for internal email, not autoresponders sent to prospects and customers.
3. “I will contact you when I return to civilization.”
If you’re traveling to a remote, mountainous area, you can make fun of the lack of WiFi in your autoresponder. Also, people are less likely to expect an immediate response or keep emailing you after the first try.
I am sorry that I missed you. I can’t get my email this second. Why? I’m on a backpacking trip, surviving on spam, really good water and trail mix. You should see the stars out here.
I’ll get in touch with you when I return to civilization. Or in an area with WiFi. Or to the office on May 10th. Whichever comes first.
If you need help now, email my team at email@example.com.
4. “If you need to get in touch with me, go to my home in Florida.”
When one of my coworkers went on vacation, he sent an out-of-office message that was both smart and wise. First he sent the recipient on an imaginary scavenger hunt to the “highest peak of the highest mountain”. He used humorous absurdity to make it clear that he would not check email while he was away.
Also, he incorporated a wonderful technique to let people know that if they really wanted him to read their emails, they should probably resend them when he gets back. Not only does this hold the sender responsible by saying, “If this is really important, you will know when to reach me,” but it also helps them really clear their job while they are away. And that’s hard to do.
Below is an example that you can use yourself.
I’m on vacation until July 18th. If you want to reach me you have to do the following:
- First travel to my home in Florida.
- Climb to the highest peak of the tallest mountain.
- Find a rare flower (no details of course … it would cheat).
- Put the flower back, because as the old wandering rule goes: “Leave everything as you found it.”
When you understand this flower, you will know that you are reaching me. Trust me. You will know
If your message requires a faster response, please email my manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to make sure your message gets a response as soon as possible when I return, please send it on July 18th. I recommend using one of our sales automation tools to plan now while you think about it.
5. “I know I should say I have limited access to email, but …”
Josh Kopelman’s vacation email is a classic example of a blunt approach to OOO news.
Not only did Kopelman manage to turn his out-of-office message into some kind of epic poem, but he went to the trouble of crafting an adorably snarky, vacation-specific email address for his recipients.
The ability to contact an email address that says “Interruptyourvacation” offers two options: 1) a dose of humor and 2) discouragement from actually doing what the name suggests. He also goes ahead with a plea for empathy by stating that he has promised his family time.
Sure, Kopelman is honest about the fact that he is on vacation, but he also lets the recipient know that he or she would be disrupting important family times if the first option is chosen. It just makes a point and uses humor to avoid making it sound like it wants the reader to feel guilty.
Below is an example that you can use yourself.
You received this email immediately (classic autoresponder behavior), which means that I’m not in the office while on vacation.
While hypothetically I could get my email while hypothetically having my phone on hand and hypothetically having WiFi access, I would rather enjoy spending time with my family. My kids grow up at the speed of a supersonic jet. If I blink again, you’ll be 35 years old. And I am 73 years old. And I do not want that.
If you still need to reach me, you can email email@example.com. Or you can email my assistant at Assistant@example.com. They can point you in the right direction.
I look forward to reconnecting as soon as I get back.
6. “Hello, I’m Troy McClure.”
When one of my coworkers is out of the office, he doesn’t mess around. In fact, he’s turned his automatic replies into an ongoing series of comments from the fictional cartoon character Troy McClure.
Whenever McClure shows up on these out of office messages, he is “speaking” on behalf of my colleague, alluding to previous automatic replies in which he starred. It’s a mild form of self-deprecating humor – like saying, “I know, I’m back from the office” – that the fictional teaser title on the last line only makes it funnier.
Don’t be afraid to use a pop culture reference that the audience would recognize. Instead of complaining about your absence, have something fun and familiar to laugh about.
Hi, my name is Troy McClure. You may remember me from out-of-office messages like Avenge my death if I don’t come back from DMEXCO and Bye, I’m on an absurdly long bike ride.
I am here to speak to you about someone you know. Catalina Wong will not be in office until September 27th. She wanted me to let you know that she would be in touch with you when she got back.
That’s all for now. Look out for me in the upcoming out-of-office message. It’s not a hangover, it’s food poisoning – I swear! And be safe out there.
7. “The bad news is that I’m out of office. The good news is that I’m not in office.”
They can show how excited you are about your vacation while apologizing anyway (kind of … not really).
Hey, I have good news and bad news for you. Let’s go with the evil first.
The bad news is that I’m out of office. The good news is that I’m out of office and enjoying Eloten in Cancun.
If you can’t wait for an answer, my colleague will be happy to take care of you. Just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ll be back on February 7th.
8. “I’m out of the office right now and I’m probably chilling out on the beach. Enjoying your work week.”
That’s it. That’s all. This message is simple and to the point, and it informs users that they will not be able to reply to messages.
However, be careful with messages that are so scarce. Make sure you are familiar enough with your audience – and your boss – to know that this type of away message will be answered with a giggle, not anger.
9. “Can you guess where I am?”
There is a term we like to use here: “snow birds”, which describes those who once lived in the north of the United States to flee to warmer parts of the country in the winter.
And while my coworker had mixed feelings about her own parents joining this Florida population, she couldn’t be too upset when her father suggested flying down from Boston for a Red Sox spring training game.
Of course, she had to take the day off – and couldn’t alert people with an old generic automatic reply. Instead, she turned it into a guessing game in her out-of-office email, which you can use for yourself below.
I’m out of the office enjoying some peanuts and cracker jacks with my family. Can you guess where i am That’s okay, you’re busy.
If your message is urgent, fear not – we will address it. Try one of two things:
- Send me an email at TheresNoCryingInBaseball@example.com.
- Was just a joke. This is not a real email address.
- In my absence, contact my manager at email@example.com.
I’ll be back in the office on July 19th and will be happy to answer. Have a nice weekend!
Out of office messages
10. “Holiday celebrations and debauchery are imminent. Be careful (if you dare). “
If you’re out on vacation, how can you express your season thrill without sounding cheesy?
How about warning people of what’s to come? Check out an example you can use below.
Carefully. Holiday celebration and debauchery ahead. Be careful (if you dare).
By that I mean to say, I’m on vacation, I’m definitely sunburned, and I’m sorry I missed your email.
Don’t worry: while I pretend to be Santa Claus in front of my kids, my colleague Hannah will take care of me. Just email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help urgently.
Take care of yourself and don’t get carried away by sunbathing!
11. “Thank you for your email. I already love it. “
That vacation out-of-office email is definitely an issue, if not a little passively aggressive. If you get emails over the holidays, treat whatever you get this season like the gift and send out a thank you letter.
My snappy coworker sure did it in his out-of-office message below. We send thank you letters in response to Christmas gifts, so it is only natural that we expect the same gesture in our work entrances …
Thank you very much for your email. I already love it. It’s so beautifully wrapped in its charming subject line that all I knew was this message was going to be special. Gifts like this don’t come around every day.
Unfortunately, I have to return your message. I’m currently out of the office because it’s vacation time. When I come back I will read your email carefully and I will find that your request is exactly what I needed! But until then, I’ll keep it in the inbox so it doesn’t get damaged and visit again when the vacation is over.
12. “Die Hard Quiz.”
Check out this message from a HubSpot rep who is sure to turn the tables on the email sender. Just when you thought you were the one requesting action, the recipient sent back a task – at least a fun one.
While the sender waits for your reply to their email, you can reduce your absence by including them in a vacation survey like the one below.
Sorry i missed you I am out of the office and only answer slowly after the break. While I have you, help me resolve a dispute between my co-workers and myself:
Die hard quiz
What was the best die hard film?
- Die Hard 1: The office Christmas party went wrong.
- Die Hard 2: Airport Conspiracy.
- Die Hard 3: Samuel L. Jackson. Enough said.
- Die Hard 4: Cyberthreat.
- Die Hard 5: You probably shouldn’t choose this one.
- Impossible! It’s like choosing a favorite child!
13. “Here are 10 things I’m grateful for.”
This email is from another colleague of mine. The purpose of this email is to intercept messages during Thanksgiving and the way it is done is grateful.
The fun and charming email template below will keep your coworkers trusting with a list of things anyone who works in an office will be grateful for. Of course, you can adapt this list to the specifics of your own workplace. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reveal them.
Since I’m out of the office on Thanksgiving weekend, I’ll reply to your email with a list of 10 things I’m grateful for:
- Copiers that compose
- Employees who make more coffee when they empty the pot
- Donuts on Mondays AND Fridays
- When it surprised me with a new laptop AND thought about transferring my files
- If you know who died at the end of book 7
- Dry erase boards that are actually erased
- The brave soul who cleared the fridge
- When I get to a meeting with all of the staff early and get a table near the door
- HR eventually sent out a memo asking people to stop cutting their nails at their desks
- OOO autoresponders
I wish you a happy harvest festival and I will be in touch with you on Monday.
14. “I’m busy watching Christmas movies. See you later.”
There’s no shame in using Christmas to indulge the flavors of your childhood movie, but it’s a shame not to share that adorable side of yourself when people are trying to reach you over the holidays.
So take a lesson from @courtwhip, editor at PEDESTRIAN.TV, who wrote the aforementioned hilarious out-of-office email that is full of mentions of the best movies from the 1990s. (By the way, “Splinter” is from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and as we all know, he loves pizza.)
Below is an example that you can use for yourself. Well, it’s the same email.
Oh hey it’s Christmas what are you doing to me via email?
I’m very busy watching Home Alone, Die Hard, and the Ninja Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Christmas Special from 1994 that will repeat until the New Year.
I could stop for lunch and bathroom breaks, neither could I.
Regardless of my general health and hygiene during the stupid time of year, I’ll be back in the office on January 2nd.
Then don’t forget to buy a pepperoni pizza for Splinter.
15. “Thank you for your consideration during this festive or non-festive time.”
Afraid of offending a colleague who may or may not be celebrating the holidays? Don’t worry – I have the perfect email for you. If this OOO message does something particularly good, it is that it respects the different views, religions, traditions and opinions of your co-workers – while amusing so many others.
It’s also a great imitation of a robot. So if this is your alley …
You have reached Michael Abioye’s inbox. This is a general announcement informing you of Michael Abioye’s absence until January 2nd, 20XX. Currently, he is participating in the traditions of a specific holiday, which may or may not be denominational or non-denominational. Example The company does not endorse or endorse this holiday in any way and does not encourage or discourage employees of any population from participating in ceremonial activities. Thank you for your consideration during this festive or non-festive time.
With best regards,
Out of office messages while working from home
To work from home? Check out these OOO messages to let people know you’re taking a break.
16. “I’ll get in touch with you as soon as I get back from my long-awaited trip to the refrigerator.”
When you go on vacation and stay at home, your clients or co-workers may still expect you to come into the office and answer their emails. Use this autoresponder to let them know that you really are not available – even if you are frolicking on the couch.
Thank you very much for your email. I’m on vacation. On the couch. Eat chips. And bingeen strange things for the eighth time (don’t tell anyone).
Unfortunately, I am unable to answer your email (even though my office is three feet away). I’ll get in touch with you as soon as I’m back from my long-awaited trip to the refrigerator. Bought tickets on TripAdvisor and everything.
I’ll be back in the office on the third and then I’ll get back to you.
17. “Alexa, play Vacation by Dirty Heads.”
Do you have an Alexa? This could be the email for you.
“Alexa, play Vacation by Dirty Heads.”
And … it’s playing in the background as I write this email. Guess what? I’m on vacation! And I love my job.
Your email has been received and I’ll get in touch with you as soon as I’m back in my home office. How do I turn this Alexa thing off?
18. “The doorbell just rang. It’s the UPS driver. He loads me on the truck. “
In this email you will receive a UPS package that will be delivered to your holiday destination. Ah, I wish UPS had offered this service.
Hey – you got through my inbox, but wait, the doorbell just rang. It’s the UPS driver. He loads me on the truck. Damn it, it’s stuffy in this truck with all these boxes. He’s bringing me down to … Oh! Florida! And now I’m on the beach. Thank you, UPS driver!
The UPS driver is supposed to pick me up on the eighth. He should get me back to the office by the ninth (assuming he’s not late like this time).
Don’t worry – I’ll wrap myself in bubble wrap so nothing gets broken.
Funny OOO messages never fail
Are you completely inspired by the creative out of office messages above? It’s time to write your own – your upcoming vacation depends on it. Check out HubSpot’s OOO email generator if you’re unsure. Remember, an out-of-office email doesn’t have to be boring. On the contrary, it should inform and entertain. You don’t want people to hate you for taking a much-needed break.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for completeness.