The Art of Crafting an “Out of Office” Message

Ready for the beach and some well-deserved R&R? To trade in your freezing office for warm sand between your toes? There’s just one step between you and the Florida Keys: your out of office message.

You may think it’s insane to spend more than two minutes setting up your auto-response, but the right message can make your vacation that much more peaceful. Because let’s be real, no one wants to sift through 10,000 unread messages while they could be scuba diving with dolphins.

First off, cover the basics, such as: who to contact in the meanwhile and your return date. One tip is to utilize an international date format and write out months to avoid any confusion (08/09/2015? Wait, is that August 9th or September 8th?)

Additionally, feel free to include a salutation with your name to prevent seeming like an automated robot. This out of office message is also representative of you, so why not put in some humor? Your co-workers will appreciate a chuckle while receiving heaps of summertime OoO messages.

As for what not to add, omit any super specifics of where you will be, as a safety precaution against lurkers on the World Wide Web. If possible, also try to avoid stating something along the lines of “Call me if you need me” for an external OoO message. This will protect you from a bombardment of unwanted calls, endless blinking notifications, and unhappy glances from your spouse. Don’t worry; your company can survive one week without your instantaneous replies.

Want a great example? Check out the cleverly crafted out of office message by Tom Theys, EVP of global strategy at FCB, inspired by our very own Cannes winning campaigns.

On holiday right after Cannes? THIS BOY CAN!

Yes, by the time you get this OoO, I’ll be reading my ownboard magazine or playing with a doll on the beach, colorful sunglasses on. It’s highly doubtful there’ll be any shadow wifi, so I will only be checking in occasionally until my return on July 21st. If you want to track my inactivity, send me a text and I’ll reply when I can. Rest assured, you will be unforgotten. In the meantime, you can send your requests and thank-you parcels to (contact e-mail).



This is FCB after all, composed of passionate thinkers and storytellers. Creative leaders like Tom can optimize anything to be innovative, even an out of office message. Tom’s message has the perfect balance of warmth and humor, and also gently discourages people from sending him messages that can wait until he’s back in the office.

Once you’ve crafted the perfect out of office message, get ready to pack your bags (and don’t forget your sunscreen)!