Communicating clearly to your coworkers or clients is essential in any professional setting. As you scroll down, consider your audience—whether it's internal or external. Next, think about the circumstance of your absence. Finally, determine tone and style.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Out of Office Messages for a Short Sickness
- Out of Office Messages for Extended Medical Leave with No Return Date
- Out of Office Messages for Extended Medical Leave with a Return Date
- Funny Out of Office Messages for Medical Leave or an Illness
- Out of Office Messages for Taking Care of a Sick Child
Below are some great pointers and sample messages for you when creating out-of-office messages. Each one will show how to apply audience, circumstance, tone, and style next time you need to create an auto-responder.
Out of Office Messages for a Short Sickness
Communicate only the details necessary while keeping the out-of-office message short, professional, and to the point.
1. "Hello, I'm out of the office until [date]. If you need immediate assistance, please contact [Name and position] at [email and phone]. Otherwise, I will reply to your email [date] morning. Sincerely, [Name and title]"
Here's a basic but professional template for those external messages that don't require a lot of added filler in the email.
2. "Hi there, I will be checking my emails from home for the next few days while I recover from a bug. I might not respond to your emails as quickly as I normally do. So if this is an urgent situation, please call me on my cell [number]. Thanks for understanding, [Name and title]."
Adding a few more details to your external email is acceptable if the work environment also has a more laid-back tone. Also, only mention your cell number if this is standard practice or a work phone.
3. "Hi everyone, I caught a bug over the weekend. I'll be working from home for the next few days. That way I don't bring my new friend to work and get everyone sick. (Or your families!) But please feel free to call or email me with any questions. See you soon! [Name]"
This internal message lets your coworkers know you're out of the office, but checking your emails—and being considerate, too.
4. "Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, I will be out of the office for a few days. If you need immediate assistance, please contact [Name and role] or [Name and role]. Otherwise, I will return your email as soon as I'm back at my desk. Kind regards, [Name and role]."
Here's an external message that lets your customers know you won't be checking your emails. But with some contact sharing, they can still achieve any goals they need in the interim.
Out of Office Messages for Extended Medical Leave with No Return Date
You'll want to provide more than just the necessary information if you don't know your return date after extended medical leave.
5. "Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, my family is experiencing an emergency. Since we do not know our situation's fullness yet, I am referring you to my manager, [Name and email], should you need assistance. I appreciate your understanding. Kind regards, [Name]."
For a friendly and external out-of-office message, details can be as vague or precise as you feel comfortable with. This will depend on your audience and office style.
6. "Hi, team! First, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm OK. But I am experiencing some medical problems that need to be resolved sooner than later. This means you won't see me for a while, but I guarantee that I'll be in touch as soon as I can. I'll miss you all! [Name]"
Friendly internal messages can be as vague or explicit as you like. It just depends on your comfort level.
7. "Thank you for reaching out. You're receiving this email because I will be on extended medical leave. I've discussed your [project] with my manager and fellow team members. Please reach out to [Name] at your earliest convenience. Thank you and kind regards, [Name]"
Contact sharing in external emails will help big clients feel like they aren't getting left behind.
8. "Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, I will be away from work for an undetermined amount of time. Should you need my immediate assistance, please resend this email and type "URGENT" in the subject line. I will return your email as soon as I can. Thank you for your patience, [Name]"
This external message supports the idea that you'll be out of the office but still be checking your emails.
Out of Office Messages for Extended Medical Leave with a Return Date
Often, we know when extended medical leave will end. But sometimes, there’s a little gray area on the back end.
9. "Friends and Colleagues, Just a heads up. My medical leave begins tomorrow. I'll keep you in the loop while I'm away, too. I just wanted to wish everyone a good [month, season, etc.]. See you [date]!"
Friendly and basic out-of-office messages for extended leave don't have to be long. Keep them short, so your coworkers can get back to work!
10. "Friends, I won't be back in the office until [date]. My family and I are headed back home due to an unexpected death in the family. I'll keep you in the loop should anything change."
The most important thing when someone dies is the safety of you and your family while managing grief. You've got the leeway to keep bereavement leave messages as short as you like.
11. "Hello, and thank you for your email. My family is experiencing an unexpected medical emergency. I will be out of the office for the next few weeks. In my absence, please contact my manager, [Name and email], with any questions or concerns regarding your project."
Leaving a point of contact is helpful to clients just in case your leave runs over and they need some immediate assistance from another member of your team.
12. "Thank you for your email. My partner and I are beginning three-months of parental leave beginning tomorrow to welcome our adopted child. While I am absent, please contact [Name and email] with regards to your account. Otherwise, I look forward to corresponding with you after [date]."
Parental leave for an adopted child is an exciting time. It's okay to keep emails professional for clients and coworkers.
Funny Out of Office Messages for Medical Leave or an Illness
Funny messages may work best as internal communication unless you know your clients well.
13. "Hi everyone! The flu bug hit the house this last week, so we're all trying our best to recreate the cherry pit scenes from the Witches of Eastwick. Look for us on TikTok soon! "
If you're familiar with the movie, you know that having a grasp of your audience will be important. Otherwise, those with a weak stomach might be offended.
14. "Hi All, I was just at the clinic this morning, and while I was waiting to be seen, I realized how offensive I was as people were starting to move away from me. So, it's probably best I hibernate until this is over. "
With an understanding team, your internal out-of-office messages can be humble and self-deprecating.
15. "Hello, The delirium has set in, and now I'm starting to answer myself more than usual. I should be back in the office in a few days. Thanks for understanding. You're welcome."
You can have fun with internal auto-responder messages, even when you're the object of your joke. Only if you know your team well can you be this frank in an out-of-office message.
16. "First of all, I'm sorry this put extra work on you right now. But I never thought I would be so happy to have appendicitis right in the middle of this project. No, don't worry about me. I am going to be eating dessert all week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner."
If you work with a good team, have a little fun with your extended medical leave. Otherwise, those “get well wishes” might come back a little unfriendly.
Out of Office Messages for Taking Care of a Sick Child
It’s acceptable to keep your child's life mostly private, especially at your job. These examples will do that while maintaining professional decorum.
17. "Hi All, I am out for the rest of the week taking care of my little one. I've already spoken to [Name] and [Name] to reschedule my appointments. I've canceled this week's meeting, too. I hope you all have a great week, and we'll see you Monday. [name].
Some internal messages need to convey just enough detail so that your employees aren't scrambling in the unknowns.
18. "Friends and Colleagues, I am sorry to say that we are experiencing a family emergency right now. [Name] will be handling my workload for the foreseeable future. I promise to let you all know what’s going on as soon as we have some answers. Thanks for understanding, and keep us in your thoughts, [Name].
If a return date is unknown, a basic internal email will have a few extra details, such as the medical leave value and who will be managing your workload. Family emergencies should always take priority.
19. "[Staff], my little one is way too sick to be at daycare today so I will be working from home. My phone number is at the bottom of this email."
Here's an internal message if you have to work from home because you can't take your kid to daycare.
20. "I am out of the office today to help take care of my sick child. To apologize for any inconvenience, you will receive 10% off your next purchase with us. Just send a note to [Name and email] to get your code."
Offering a discount for the inconvenience posed is an excellent way to help appease customers who might have been put out by any delay in services.
Internal and External Messages for Illnesses and More
Hopefully, we've helped you understand what to write for internal versus external messages, including how tone and voice can apply to various audiences.