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    How to Set an Out of Office Message for Text & Email

    Last updated 2021-02-28
    Out of Office Message Reply

    Learn How to Set an Out of Office Reply for Text Messages, Email, and Your iPhone or Android.

    Good business messaging etiquette starts with prompt replies. This is especially important when you or your coworkers are away from your desks, on vacation, or generally unavailable.

    A simple out of office message sets response expectations. It also clearly communicates what to do and how to take action. And having quick, clear responses is especially important if you’re sending messages as a salesperson, or providing customer service.

    There’s debate over email vs text and which is better for reaching people. But both are great tools for sending automatic out of office messages.

    We walk you through all of the different ways you can set up automatic out office replies below, using the following:

    • MessageDesk

    • iPhone

    • Android

    • Gmail

    • Outlook

    • Mail on iCloud

    • Yahoo

    Read on for more.


    out-of-office-message

    What’s an Out of Office Message?

    An out-of-office message lets others know you’re away from your desk and not available. A good out-of-office message also sets reply expectations for your colleagues, customers, and clients. This automatic email or text reply tells them that you’re away and when they can expect you to respond.

    How to Set Up an Out of Office Automatic Text Message Reply

    Automatic out of office text messages are sometimes referred to as Autoresponders. They’re pre-written text messages that automatically send based on a trigger or specific date and time settings. Sending an out of office text can also make your response feel more timely and personal.

    Automated out of office texts may also refer to text message scheduling or drip campaigns. Many business text messaging platforms offer ways to automate text messaging.

    MessageDesk is a business text messaging app with a host of text message automation features. It makes it easy for you to set up out of office text messages for your business or organization.

    Suggested Article: Guide to Text Message Automation

    MessageDesk - Out of Office Text Message Using Autoresponders

    SnapDesk Out of Office Message
    1. Create a MessageDesk account

    2. Navigate to Plugins once you have your account set up

    3. In Plugins select “Office Hours”

    4. Set your organizations time zone, hours, and daily availability

    5. Compose your autoresponder message

    iPhone - Out of Office Text Message

    Out of Office Message iPhone
    1. Navigate to Settings in your iPhone

    2. Scroll to Do Not Disturb

    3. Tap on Auto-Reply

    4. Compose a Do Not Disturb auto-reply text message that replaces the default “do not disturb while driving” message

    5. Set “Auto-Reply To” to “All Contacts”

    Android - Out of Office Text Message

    1. Open the "Email" app on your phone

    2. Tap the "Menu" button

    3. Tap the "Settings" link

    4. Tap the "Manage Accounts" link

    5. Select your work email address

    6. Tap the "Out of office settings" link

    7. Configure your out of office settings

    8. Configure your messages

    How to Set Up an Out of Office Automatic Email Reply

    There are many ways to set up an out-of-office email message. The “how-to” for each email provider will vary, but we cover the top five below.

    Gmail - Out of Office / Vacation Automatic Reply

    Gmail Out of Office Message Vacation Responder
    1. On your computer, open Gmail

    2. In the top right, click Settings

    3. Click “see all settings”

    4. Scroll down to the "Vacation responder" section

    5. Select Vacation responder on

    6. Fill in the date range, subject, and message

    7. Under your message, check the box if you only want your contacts to see your vacation reply

    8. At the bottom of the page, click “Save Changes”

    Note: If you have a Gmail email signature, it will appear at the bottom of your vacation response.

    Outlook (Desktop App) - Automatic Replies

    1. Open Outlook and click “File” in the menu bar

    2. Then click Automatic Replies (Out of Office)

    3. Next, click Send automatic replies

    4. Tick the “Only send during this time range” box

    5. Then set your automatic out of office reply under the Inside My Organization tab

    6. Set your automatic out of office reply under the Outside My Organization tab

    7. Finally, click OK

    Outlook (Web App) - Automatic Replies

    Outlook-Web-App-Screenshot
    1. Go to your Outlook page

    2. Then sign in to your Outlook account if prompted

    3. Next, click the Settings icon

    4. Then select View all Outlook settings

    5. Select the Mail tab and then click Automatic replies

    6. Click Turn on automatic replies

    7. Type in your out of office message

    8. Finally, click Save

    Mail on iCloud.com - Out of Office / Automatic Reply

    iCloud-Out-Of-Office-Screenshot
    1. In Mail on iCloud.com, click the gear icon in the sidebar, then choose Preferences. If you don’t see the sidebar, see Show or hide the sidebar in Mail on iCloud.com.

    2. Click Vacation, select “Automatically reply to messages when they are received,” then type the message you want to send

    3. Set an optional date range

    4. Once the autoreply is active, it will send from the first day of the date range until the last.

    5. Click “Done”

    Note: Anyone who sends you multiple messages while you’re away will receive one autoreply in a 24-hour period.

    Yahoo - Out of Office / Vacation Response

    Yahoo - Out of Office Vacation Response
    1. Click on the Settings gear icon and then More settings

    2. Click Vacation response

    3. Toggle Enable vacation response on or off

    4. Select the dates you want it active

    5. Enter your response message

    6. Click “Save”

    Best Out of Office Message Examples

    Setting proactive out-of-office messages should be part of your conversational messaging strategy. Personalizing messages at the most timely of moments can also improve customer service.

    We elaborate more on what good business messaging etiquette and customer service look like in another blog post. But it’s important to remember that for all professional emails

    and texts your out-of-office message will accomplish four things:

    1. Personally greet the message recipient

    2. Explain when and for how long you or your staff are away

    3. When the message recipient can expect you back

    4. What they can do in the meantime e.g. contact alternate phone numbers

    Text messages are a little more relaxed and will present more condensed information. Text are supposed to be quick and short. But this all depends on your situation and business context.

    Below are various out of office message templates for both email and text messages.

    Group Texting

    Best Out of Office Text Message Templates

    Out of Office Text Message Example 1: 

    Hey {{ FirstName }}, I’m out of the office starting {{ StartDate }} through {{ EndDate }}. I’ll be back on {{ Return Date }}. Please contact {{ FirstName }} at {{ EmailAddress }} for immediate assistance. Otherwise, I’ll respond ASAP once I’m back.

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Out of Office Text Message Text Example 2: 

    Hey {{ FirstName }}, All of our staff are currently away. Please text your question here and we’ll get back to you ASAP with a response.

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Out of Office Text Message Text Example 3:

    Hey {{ FirstName }}, All of our staff are currently away. Go ahead and text your question and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Best Out of Office Email Templates

    Out of Office Email Example 1:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your email. I’m currently out of the office, but I’ll be back on {{ ReturnDate }}. I currently have limited access to email.

    For immediate assistance please contact me on my cell phone at {{ PhoneNumber }}.

    Warm Regards,

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Out of Office Email Example 2:

    Hello,

    I will be out of the office from {{ StartDate }} until {{ EndDate }}. For assistance with urgent matters, please email {{ ContactPerson }}.

    Kind Regards,

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Out of Office Email Example 3:

    Hi there,

    I will be out of the office starting {{ StartDate }} through {{ EndDate }} returning {{ ReturnDate }}.

    If you need immediate assistance, please contact my colleague {{ FirstName }} at {{ EmailAddress }}. Otherwise, I will respond to your emails as soon as possible when I return.

    Many thanks,

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Other Ways to Use Out of Office Messages and Vacation Replies

    Lead Generation

    You’ve got a captive audience. So why not take advantage of the opportunity in your out of office message? This is where you can encourage webinar attendance, whitepaper downloads, or any other form of lead generation activity.

    Hey there,

    I’m currently out of the office until {{ ReturnDate }} with limited to no access to email. If your request is urgent, please contact {{ FirstName }} at {{ Email }} or {{ Phone }}.

    In the meantime, get more practical tips for expanding your reach and growing your business. Join 3000+ people who get weekly tips by subscribing to our newsletter.

    I’ll be sure to get back to you when I return on mm/dd.

    Thanks,

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Promoting New Content

    You can also use your out of office message to drive more traffic to a specific piece of content. Just link to an interesting online resource your or your organization has developed.

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your email. I’m out of the office right now, but I’ll return on {{ ReturnDate }}. 

    In the meantime, check out this new article I wrote last week: {{ ArticleLink }}. Give it a read and let me know what you think. I’ll be sure to respond to your thoughts when I get back.

    Best,

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Driving Website Traffic

    You may simply want to drive traffic to your website using an out of office reply. Depending on the page you link to, your auto response might be different. But here’s an example:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, I’m out of the office from {{ StartDate }} to {{ EndDate }}. If your question can wait, I’ll be responding to all emails when I return on {{ ReturnDate }}. 

    In the meantime, our website: {{ WebsiteLink }} might answer some of your questions.

    All best,

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Provide Customer Service and Advertise Normal Office Operating Hours

    Sometimes, all you need in an auto responder is a descriptor for normal operating hours. This can also contain an alternate way to get in contact. Your message will vary based on your business, but it doesn’t always have to be complex.

    Hi there, 

    Looks like we’ve missed you today. Our apologies. Normal office hours are {{ OfficeHours }}. In the meantime, you can reach us directly at {{ OrganizationPhone }}.

    Thanks,

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}

    Promote Social Media Engagement

    People won’t normally seek out your brand’s social media accounts. But they’re more likely to follow you if asked or presented with the opportunity. You can do this in your out of office message.

    Hey there,

    I’m out of the office from {{ StartDate }} to {{ EndDate }} and will be responding to messages when I return on {{ ReturnDate }}. To keep up with all the latest happenings at {{ OrganizaitonName }}, join our Facebook Group: {{ Link }}

    I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

    - {{ FirstName }}, {{ OrganizationName }}


    Final Thoughts and Next Steps

    Ready to start texting out of office messages? MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler ways to text.

    Visit our learning center for information on how to get started with MessageDesk. You’ll find a quick start guide to texting, a features overview, and an explanation of what MessageDesk is.

    You’ll also want to check out our list of free SMS text message templates. Just copy and paste to start texting.

    Finally, feel free to start a 7-day free MessageDesk trial with 50 free text messages.