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Need an Out of Office message

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#1 qak

Posted 23 August 2019 - 07:26 PM

I've started my own professional services business recently. It's at home, so I don't usually need to travel or drive, or do anything physical.

I'm going to hospital for a 'major' operation - a hysterectomy -  next week, and am not quite sure how long I will be not able to work for.

I wanted to set up an OOO message, any suggestions what I should say?

#2 SplashingRainbows

Posted 23 August 2019 - 07:44 PM

Do your clients already know you’ll be on leave?Generally I’d contact any regulars in advance and advise you will be taking 4-6 weeks personal leave on doctors orders but expect to be back around x date . Then out of office could simply say I am on leave or personal leave until approximately  x date and am unlikely to be able to check emails during this absence. Any urgent enquires should be directed to whatever the phone number or colleague or backup arrangement is. Remember every spam marketing agency will get your OOO so make it only as personal as you wish it to be for those people....

Edited by SplashingRainbows, 23 August 2019 - 07:45 PM.

#3 alchetta

Posted 23 August 2019 - 07:44 PM

You can either go for professional honesty or vagueness.

I will be out of the office for a routine procedure which requires a recovery period. I hope to be back online by 10 September and will endeavour to respond to your email sooner. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience. Thanking you in advance for your understanding, qak

Thank you for your email. I will be on leave from the business from xx to yy. My return date is not yet finalised, so while I will endeavour to reply sooner, please accept my apologies in advance if there is a lengthier delay in my responding.
Thank you for your understanding,

#4 Etta

Posted 23 August 2019 - 08:19 PM

I would just say
I will be out of the office until X date. blah blah...

If you are not sure if you will be back earlier and you want to be vague you could say

I will be out of the office until X date and will have limited access to emails in the meantime. If your enquiry is urgent blah blah...

No need to mention personal leave, sick leave, procedures or anything like that.

#5 FindingZen

Posted 23 August 2019 - 08:28 PM

I would state for 2-3 weeks no email access. By then you should be well enough to read your emails and respond to the urgent ones.

Thank you for your message. I will be out of the office and will not have access to my emails from 26 August to 15 September 2019 inclusive.

Your email is important to me and I will respond as soon as I can.

The business believes/operates as/works to....[insert positive spiel regarding your business]

#6 Coffeegirl

Posted 23 August 2019 - 08:29 PM

Like Etta, I would simply say

I will be out of the office on leave until X date.   I will reply to your email once I am back in the office.

Make the return date at the longest your surgeon expects you to be off.   If they say recovery is 2-3 weeks, put 3 weeks.    If you come back earlier, then you come back early.  

No need to say ‘personal leave’ or that you will have limited access to emails.    

Simply that you will not be there and will reply when you are back.  

I made the mistake of putting ‘limited access to emails’ on my last OOO and I had one customer email me multiple times a day asking why I hadn’t replied and when would I have access..

#7 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:12 AM

What Splashing Rainbows said.

When you are a small professional service regular clients/people (mostly) understand you can need essential medical stuff but they need to feel confident you don’t have an attitude that it’s ok to nick off on holiday leave for 6 weeks and leave them in the lurch every year.  That goes double for new clients you don’t have a track record with yet.

#8 born.a.girl

Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:41 AM

I couldn't have afforded to not let people know it was unavoidable.  It would have been important for callers to know that I hadn't just nicked off on holidays (any month except January) without making any provision for them. The future of my business depended on their understanding.

Only you will know the nature of your business, and whether it's appropriate to give them a heads up about the reason.

Even after major surgery (nearly 4 hours) I needed to spend a few minutes a day answering a few simple questions, that made a huge difference to the person helping me out while I wasn't there. That was specific to me, you'll know what's specific to you.

#9 Expelliarmus

Posted 24 August 2019 - 09:56 AM

I was in hospital for 10 days after mine. Even if you can answer emails after you get out of hospital, you won't know when that will be. I was to be there for 3-5 days ...

All the OOO messages I have gotten have been basic.

"Thank you for your email. I will be out of the office until (date) and will respond to your email upon my return.'

#10 lizzzard

Posted 24 August 2019 - 10:10 AM

Yeah, I’d put a definite date for your return. You can reassess if necessary after that but people need to know when they can expect a response, otherwise they might just get someone else (depending on your business and how easy it is to switch of course). I run my own practice in professional services too - it’s unfortunate but reality that clients don’t really care why you’re away, they just want their stuff attended to!

#11 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 24 August 2019 - 10:59 AM

I wouldn’t bother, and would just triage emails as required.   That way you can tailor your response and either send a generic “on leave” message or something more personal depending on who it is and what they want.

I had a whopping great fibroid taken out abdominally and was in for 5 days, but was fine to triage emails the next day.  

I’d also call my main clients (if any) beforehand and give them a heads up in advance - same as I would before taking significant holiday leave.  I would in fact tell people “a routine procedure” or something, otherwise they are polite and try to ask about your holiday.  

You could also get a friend to “ghost” as your assistant while you are “on leave” and triage your emails.

#12 qak

Posted 28 August 2019 - 12:50 PM

View Postalchetta, on 23 August 2019 - 07:44 PM, said:

I will be out of the office for a routine procedure which requires a recovery period. I hope to be back online by 10 September and will endeavour to respond to your email sooner. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience. Thanking you in advance for your understanding, qak

Thanks everyone!

I actually went for this version - I'm now home and doing very well, so I've taken the message off and will just take it a bit easy for a few days.

Pain is minimal, I've been given painkillers to bring home and honestly at this point I don't think I will be taking any; and I am mobile (not to drive for a week or two, not to lift weight, no DTD) - if anyone needs a hysterectomy in Sydney I can recommend this doctor!

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