When one of my colleagues went on vacation, he sent an out-of-office message that was both clever and smart. First, he sent the recipient on an imaginary scavenger hunt to “the highest peak of the tallest mountain.” He used humorous absurdity to make it clear that he would not be checking email while he was away.
Plus, he incorporated a delightful technique to let people know that if they really wanted him to read their emails, they should probably send them again after his return. Not only does that keep the sender accountable by saying, “If this is really important, you know when to reach me,” but it also helps him truly vacate his work while he’s away. And that’s hard to do.
Below is an example you can use for yourself.
I’m on vacation until July 18th. If you need to reach me, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- First, travel to my homeland of Florida.
- Climb to the highest peak of the tallest mountain.
- Find a rare flower (no specifics, of course… It’d be cheating).
- Put the flower back, because as the old hiking rule goes, “Leave everything as you found it.”
When you understand that flower, you’ll know to reach me. Trust me. You’ll know.
If your message requires a response faster than that, please email my manager at email@example.com.
If you want to make sure your message gets a response ASAP when I return, please send it on July 18th. I recommend using one of our sales automation tools to schedule it now, while you’re thinking about it.