Recommended ReadsMay 25th, 2021

Out of office, into inbox

Jess Allison
Jess Allison, Head of Business Operations

I only ever set an out of office message if I’m going to be offline for more than one day – this works on the assumption that if anything was more urgent than that, there are other ways to reach me, and in general I prefer to avoid creating email noise for other people.

If I do need to create one, from now on I’m going to consider who is likely to receive it, and what I could share beyond my return date. HBR suggests making it personal and specific, such as:

Hi, I am attending a conference with fellow healthcare account managers in Atlanta this week with the hopes of bringing back tools that will make business even better for my clients. I will have limited access to email during this time. If you need immediate assistance before Monday, please contact [colleague].

I was recently impressed by my colleague’s out of office message too:


Sorry if my Out of Office gave you false hope of my swift and enthusiastic response!

I’m on leave until Monday 19th April. If you do need a swift response please contact



It has warmth and humanity, alongside the practical information that could be of use to the recipient. And it’s short! No fluff. This is the template I’ll be using from here on out, thanks Leah.

Subscribe to Paper Giant

Each month, our team share their thoughts on design-related topics, reflect on current social issues and share what’s happening in and out of the studio. We'll also include an invitation to our monthly meet up, Office Hours. We'd love you to join us.

Three paper airplanes flying through the air into people's inboxes.
Paper Giant

Paper Giant acknowledges the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation, the Ngunnawal and Bundjalung people as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our offices are located.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country on which we meet and work throughout Australia. We recognise that sovereignty over the land has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this website may contain images and voices of deceased people.