By: Naomi Matlow
Subject Line: Thank you for your email!
I will be away from my computer until X because I am in X, embracing X, learning X, and doing anything but checking my Xing email. Looking forward to being in touch upon my return.
Jokes aside, out-of-office is a mindset that we should all be embracing. And it all starts with controlling the inbox and a lack of outbox. By setting boundaries with our virtual connections to the workplace, we are creating both technological and mindful freedom for ourselves and for those who rely on us. This invisible barrier allows for deeper internal discovery, a greater connection to our natural and social surroundings, and ultimately, and perhaps most importantly, ourselves.
There is not much like that sweet, sweet feeling of turning on your OOO (out-of-office) auto-responder. Though you may sneak a peek or two while away from your usual 9-5 desk (we’ve all been there), consciously reminding ourselves that work can wait, and that most things don’t have to get done overnight, is freeing.
But so many questions arise before we can copy-paste that OOO draft! Do you use a template? Do you copy-paste your bosses auto-response? Is there room for creativity and some light comedy? Should you be detailed or keep it minimalist and vague? Should you mention following up with people when you return? Or ask for people to email you back after a certain date? There is no golden rule. But that is half the fun.
We know a thing or two up at Unsettled HQ about the business of OOO auto-responders, if you are about to create your own or looking for a reason to create one, we have you covered on both fronts.
Here are our top 3 suggestions for that essential out-of-office copy-paste-publish:
1. Be Creative and Unlock Inspiration – Who knows who your OOO can inspire? Maybe you are taking time off to reward yourself for all the hard work that you do, and are actively fighting back against the hustle mentality. Why not make that a part of your auto-response? If you are going on a sabbatical in order to get more creative and create more balance in your life, why not share that with visitors to your inbox? While you are rewarding yourself with a break from your routine, you can also reward someone else with a break from the monotony of “I am on vacation for the next week”.
2. Mention a Follow-Up Plan – If you are coming back to work on a Monday, give your inbox an extra day to recover. In your OOO, share when you will begin to check email again. Or for the true rebels among us, write in your OOO when people should email you back upon your return.
3. Have Fun With It! – Today our email signatures are essentially extensions of ourselves. Maybe drop a GIF, a meme, a favorite quote, a picture of where you’ll be, or something fun to brighten someone’s inbox. Like a surprise handwritten card in the mail, you have the opportunity to be that virtual surprise!
Now, if you’re joining an Unsettled retreat, we have a few recommendations for your OOO. Unsettled is a substantial experience that will positively affect your work and life. Even if you are working remotely and full-time while living Unsettled, it can also feel good for you and your senders to know what you’re up to (and so they can also live vicariously through you), and why it may take you a little longer to respond while you’re working from paradise or from an epic adventure…
Feel free to copy-paste-publish your Unsettled OOO:
Subject Line: Thank you for your email! I am currently embracing the unknown.
It may take longer than usual for me to respond, because I am living Unsettled in X with a diverse, international group of entrepreneurs, creatives, and explorers. I will not be responding to emails until X. As I expect my email to be full upon my return (you know how it goes), please email me again after X to ensure I get in touch!
*Insert favorite GIF here, travel quote, meme, picture*
Until we email again, adventure on,
Also, while we’re talking professional, feel free to follow Unsettled on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to meet other members from the community!
Now go exercise those OOO email muscles and then decide where you’re going to go in order to put it to good use 🙂