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Business Email Away Message Etiquette Tips

Business Email Away Message Etiquette Tips

Around any holiday, business folks are unavailable. Near the end of the year, many use that extra vacation time to visit family or take some time off to decompress.

Especially around the holidays, notices from partners and providers about their upcoming availability or unavailability start pouring in. In addition, companywide announcements of reduced hours or shutdowns are being announced.

Email autoresponders, also known as automatic replies or away/vacation messages, are a staple of business communication. However, some often need help understanding how and when auto-messages work best.

Here are a few things to consider to enable your vacation/away auto-messages properly. Following these simple guidelines will also ensure that you offer an excellent customer service experience.

Proper Out-of-office Message Usage

Set a Reminder…

You first want to write yourself a note, alert, or calendar reminder to turn the auto-message off when you return. Being proactive will remind you to disengage the autoresponder first thing when you come back so it does not continue going out when you are, in fact, back in the saddle.

Things will be hectic when you get back to work, and it will be easy to forget. However, nothing smacks of a lack of organization or attention to detail than away messages still being sent after you are back in the office and available for business communications.

The Basics and Clarity

Personalize your away message with a greeting and closing. It is also wise to note that your away message is, in fact, an automated message.

Adding these details ensures recipients understand that hitting reply will only produce another automated message, and you will not respond. Your message should include the following:

  • The time frame you will be unavailable.
  • When you will return.
  • When the sender can expect a reply.
  • The name, phone number, or email address of the person who can be contacted in your absence.


Do you subscribe to email lists, forums, blogs, or discussion lists? Of course you do. So, what do you think will happen in your absence once you engage your away message?

In most cases, your away message is being sent to the sender unnecessarily—for example, new post notifications from websites. Site owners don’t need to know your schedule; they are grateful you have subscribed. But they don’t need to know you are away. So, we just created unnecessary email volume.

Consider unsubscribing to any automated mailings. Unsubscribing will prevent unnecessary messages to senders who don’t need to know your status. It will help to minimize the emails waiting for you upon your return. Resub upon your return.

PRO TIP: Having a separate address you use only for subscriptions can simplify your life. When you return, you can filter anything from that address into your “subscriptions” folder in your email program for review.

Here are a couple of quick away-message examples:


You are receiving this automated message because I am out of the office. I will be unavailable from December 14th through January 3rd.

If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact Jane Jones at ja********@ad*****.com.

I will respond to your emails as soon as I can upon my return. I look foward to working with you in the new year ahead!

Thank you,
John Doe


Thank you for your message! This is an automated message because I am currently out of the office (with no email access). I will be returning on January 3rd.

If something comes up where you need my immediate assistance, you may reach me on my mobile at 555-555-1212. Otherwise, I will get back to you promptly upon my return.

Have a great holiday!

Bob Smith

Set up a message that works for your situation to ensure the best customer service experience possible for your contacts. Autoresponders can be a helpful business tool and, when used appropriately, can help keep others informed.

Keep these issues in mind so that when you use autoresponders, they are seen as more of a benefit than an annoyance.

Share the knowledge!

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