Working together means being mindful of our colleagues’ schedules as well as our own. One of the crucial aspects of this is managing Out of Office (OOO) notifications correctly within our calendars. This post will show you how to set up OOO calendar items that keep everyone informed without interrupting their plans.

Two Types of Out-of-Office Items

1. Awareness Calendar Item: “John Doe OOO – Info Only”

This calendar entry is meant solely for informing your team about your absence without affecting their schedules.

  • Event Title: Use a clear and consistent format, like “John Doe OOO – Info Only.”
  • Duration: Set the start and end times to cover your entire absence.
  • Availability: Mark this as ‘Free.’ This ensures that while your colleagues are informed, their own calendars remain unaffected.
  • Details: It’s not necessary to include your return date here. This item is just for awareness.

2. Personal Blocking Calendar Item

Separate from the informational item, this is to block out your own calendar:

  • Event Title: Something straightforward like “John Doe PTO or Unavailable.”
  • Duration: Match this with your absence period.
  • Availability: Set this to ‘Busy’ or ‘Out of Office.’
  • Purpose: This prevents others from booking meetings with you during your absence.

Crafting Your Out-of-Office Auto-Response

A well-constructed auto-response is crucial for external and internal communication. Below is a template you can adapt:

Subject: Out of Office: [Your Name]

Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office with limited access to email. I will return on [Your Return Date].

If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact [Alternate Contact Name] at [Contact Email or Phone Number]. Otherwise, I will respond to your email as soon as possible upon my return.

Best regards,
[Your Name]

Additional Tips

  • Reminders: Consider sending a brief reminder to your team or key individuals the day before you leave. You can do this through instant messaging or during meetings to let them know and give them the chance to contact you about a specific topic before you go.
  • If you have regular meetings when you’re not available, inform the participants in advance or assign someone else to attend instead. It’s a good idea to decline any meetings you can’t attend, that way people won’t wait for you if they don’t know you won’t be there.
  • Some people add a red text line at the bottom of their signatures to let others know they will be away during certain dates in advance. Usually, these notifications are included when the period when you will be away is 2 weeks or more.
  • Handover Process: Make sure ongoing projects or tasks are handed off properly to avoid any work disruption.

By using these practices, you make sure that your time off is well communicated, reducing disruptions and keeping a respectful and productive work environment.

What about you? Do you already follow these tips? Do you have additional tips to share? Looking forward to reading your comments below. Thank you for considering sharing this post on your social networks ????