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This article was published on August 8, 2013

How to make the most of your out-of-office email responder

How to make the most of your out-of-office email responder
Ben Woods
Story by

Ben Woods

Europe Editor

Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.

Summertime is when you’ll traditionally find most people setting their email auto-responder and jetting off on holiday, but that’s no reason you have to leave a boring message for all those people trying to get in touch with you while you’re sat on a beach.

While common wisdom is to make any out-of-office (OoO, hereafter) succinct and to the point, that’s pretty dull, even if it is good common practice not to waste people’s time. We’ve all seen them, right?

“I’m away from the office until the _ of _ with limited access to email. I will attend to your email on my return, or alternatively, you can contact _ on _ in an emergency. Thanks.”

Pretty. Boring.

Well, inspired by TNW’s very own Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten’s out-of-office, here’s what you could get if you email me while I’m away this summer.

“Hi, you’ve reached Ben’s out-of-office responder. I’m really sorry I’m not here but I’m on a beach taking a well-earned break. I’m even more sorry that you’re stuck in the office while I’m off enjoying myself. Is it raining outside?

While most out-of-office responders say I’ll have limited access to email, that’s not really true. I’m not disappearing off into the rain forest and will have my phone firmly by my side, but I’d really rather not be disturbed unless my house is on fire or something. Are you sure there’s no one else on the team you’d rather contact in my absence instead of emailing me another three times? It really won’t make me respond any faster. If it truly is an emergency, feel free to panic, or contact _ on _.”

If you’re one of those people that likes to keep it short and sweet, that should do you, but you’ll be missing a trick. There’s no reason why you can’t keep everyone up to date on all your holiday activities, and make a little money at the same time using affiliate links.

“As I’m off relaxing somewhere nice, I plan to get in a spot of water-skiing and some diving. If that sounds like fun, you can check out where I’ve been for yourself by following me on Instagram. Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter to see endless updates about how hot/nice it is and what I’m eating every day. I don’t think we’re close enough to be Facebook friends just yet.

While I’m away I plan on reading:

I’m also planning on catching up with a few films I’ve wanted to see like Somm and We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks.

It’s not all relaxation and fun though, I’m also planning to pound out a few miles running along the beach – you can check out my route (and how lazy I am) by following my progress on Nike+. I’ll be listening to music while I’m running too, you can check out my Spotify playlists.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! If you bought any of the books, films or music I like, thanks again, I just made 30p while on holiday! Mostly though, you’ve made it, this is the end. If you’re wondering how you can get back the last few minutes of your life, console yourself with the knowledge that my vacation will be short-lived and I too will be back in the office soon, then it’ll be your turn to go on holiday. Until then, here’s a picture of the beach and the apartment I’ll be staying in.”

These are just a few ideas to get you started, let us know in the comments below what your best suggestions for an OoO are.

Featured Image Credit – Getty Images

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