4 ways to jazz up your out-of-office email reply

When you’re on vacation or taking a personal day, the last thing you want to do is worry about responding to emails. To help relay that message, you probably schedule an automated out-of-office response. However, gone are the days of the boring old message telling your contacts that you’re simply out of the office. It’s time to get a little more creative so you can still leave a lasting impression even when you’re away from your inbox. Here are four out-of-office email tips to consider the next time you’re absent from your desk for an extended period of time.

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1. Have some fun with the subject line.

It’s so easy to write, “Thanks for your email,” or, “Sorry I missed you” in the subject line of your automated response. Instead, have some fun with it. If you’re sitting on the beach somewhere, try a subject line like “Soaking up the sun.” If you’re out for the Christmas holiday, consider using a line from a carol like “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer…” We bet the person who emailed you will definitely open your automated response. The key is to get them to open it so that they can read what you’ve written (and figure out who to email instead, of course). Just skip the traditional subject lines of workplaces past and have some fun — after all, you are out of the office.

2. Tell a little story.

There are thousands of ways you could tell a story in your out-of-office email, so take some time to think about what works best for you. Maybe you want to paint a picture of the beautiful island you’re on to evoke a little envy in the person emailing you. You could also consider a blunt approach where you tell the emailer exactly where you are and that you’ll probably answer emails since your phone is most likely in your hand even though you’re on the beach (and you’re supposed to be out of the office). There are so many fun ways to tell your contacts that you’re out of the office so, like with your subject line, get creative.

3. Be specific.

At the end of the day, your out-of-office email response is still meant to be effective. Give the reader as much or as little information as they may need to understand what is happening. Be sure to include the who, what, where, when and why, so that they know you’re out of the office on vacation with your family because it’s summer and you’ll be back by next Friday. The five W’s will help ensure your automated response gets the job done.

4. Give the emailer something to do.

Besides directing your contacts to “email Stacy” while you’re away, consider giving them something else to do. Maybe you direct them to sign up for your company’s newsletters so they can stay up to date with what’s happening while you’re away. You could also give them a fun poll to take, such as selecting which “Friends” character is the best or whether Starbucks or Dunkin’ has better coffee. It’ll not only give the emailer something to do, but also give you something to look forward to when you return to work.

This article originally appeared on Swirled.

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