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How to set up your 'Out of Office' over the festive season

Many businesses will shut down completely over Christmas, while others may stay open with employees enjoying extended annual leave at different periods. As not everyone will be working to the same business schedule over the festive season it’s ever more important that your work e-mail ‘out of office’ keeps customers old and new informed of your whereabouts.

Taking time off at Christmas is not unreasonable. Customers generally understand the need for employees to take time off with their families, but it’s important they feel reassured their email messages are not being ignored.

You can’t go wrong with sticking to a benign, safe ‘out of office’ template that informs clients and customers of your whereabouts and reassures them their message has been received and will be responded to as soon as possible. For example:

“Dear [name],

Thanks for your e-mail. I am currently out of the office for the Christmas holidays from [dates here]. I will respond to your message as soon as I can upon my return to the office. If you message is urgent, please contact [name].

Season’s greetings,


The above example will largely adhere to most corporate guidelines, and is a suitable template to use if your company does not provide you with a template already.

However, if you don’t have to conform to such corporate guidelines and you have room for a little creativity then here are a few tips to consider when creating your own unique ‘out of office’ message this Christmas:

Be amusing

Don’t be afraid to show a little festive humour in your message. Even if you’re not inherently funny, just by showing a little Christmas cheer you’re far more likely to amuse your client or customer and be remembered; you could almost consider it as a separate marketing tool!

Never forget the basics

No matter how creative you want to be with your message it’s important to communicate the basics to those emailing you. Include how long you’ll be out of the office and who to contact in your absence.

Be personal

If the corporate guideline shackles are well and truly off why not reach out to your customers with a personal message. Tell those who get in touch exactly where you’ll be and what you’ll be getting up to over the festive period. The chances are most people you interact with via e-mail will be interested in your life outside work, so why not tell them?

Avoid vulgarity

There’s a fine line between being humorous and crass. Avoid vulgarities and don’t take jokes too far; after all, these are customers who help you pay the bills!

How do you approach your ‘out of office’ messages? Let us know!


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