Whether we are on a well-deserved vacation or simply stepping away from our virtual workspace for a brief moment, setting an ‘Out of Office’ message is critical.
It ensures that your colleagues, clients, and other correspondents are aware of your absence. This article focuses on enabling this feature on the Outlook app. Let’s jump right in.
I. Understanding the Significance of the ‘Out of Office’ Message
The ‘Out of Office’ (OoO) message in Outlook serves a twofold purpose. It informs the sender of your unavailability and, depending on the situation, may also provide them with alternate points of contact for urgent matters.
The necessity of setting up an OoO message cannot be overstated, especially in this era of digital communication, where immediate responses are often expected.
An aptly worded OoO message not only sets the expectations of your correspondents but also helps maintain a seamless workflow.
II. Initiating the ‘Out of Office’ Setup in the Outlook App
Accessing the ‘Out of Office’ settings in the Outlook app involves a series of steps that differ slightly depending on your device. The steps are designed to be intuitive and straightforward to provide a smooth user experience.
a. For Android Users
- Open the Outlook app on your Android device.
- Tap the ‘Menu’ icon (represented by three horizontal lines) located in the upper left-hand corner.
- Scroll down and select the ‘Settings’ option (depicted by a gear icon).
- In the ‘Settings’ menu, select the email account for which you want to set the OoO message.
- Find and select ‘Automatic Replies.’
b. For iOS Users
- Launch the Outlook app on your iOS device.
- Tap on the ‘Home’ tab, located at the bottom left of the screen.
- Tap on the ‘Settings’ icon (represented by a gear symbol).
- Scroll down to the ‘Mail’ section and tap ‘Automatic Replies.’
- Choose the account for which you want to set the OoO message.
III. Crafting a Perfect ‘Out of Office’ Message
Now that you’re in the ‘Automatic Replies’ settings, you can customize your OoO message. Here’s how:
- Slide the switch at the top of the screen to the right to enable ‘Automatic Replies.’
- Select ‘Send replies only during this time period’ if you wish to schedule specific dates for your OoO message.
- Set the start and end time for the automatic replies.
- Craft your OoO message in the ‘Reply’ text box. This is where you inform the sender about your absence and provide them with alternate contact information if needed.
- After finalizing your message and time settings, tap on the ‘Save’ button to activate your OoO message.
IV. The Art of Writing an Effective ‘Out of Office’ Message
When writing your OoO message, strive for clear, concise, and complete information. Use simple language to make it easy for the sender to understand your availability status. Your message should include:
- The period of your absence
- Estimated response time upon your return
- An alternate point of contact for urgent matters
V. Deactivating the ‘Out of Office’ Message
Upon returning, remember to deactivate your OoO message. To do this, navigate back to the ‘Automatic Replies’ section in the ‘Settings’
menu and slide the switch at the top to the left. Then, tap ‘Save.’
VI. Outlook ‘Out of Office’ Best Practices
- Set your OoO message a few hours before your actual departure to cater for early out-of-office situations.
- Include an alternate contact in your message. This gives the sender a fallback option for urgent matters.
- Update your OoO message regularly, especially if there are changes in your return date or alternate contacts.
Setting an ‘Out of Office’ message in the Outlook app is a necessary and straightforward process that fosters effective communication. It allows senders to manage their expectations about your response time and facilitates continuity in work processes.
1. Can I set different ‘Out of Office’ messages for internal and external senders in the Outlook app?
No, as of now, the Outlook app does not provide the feature to set different messages for internal and external senders. However, this feature is available in the Outlook desktop version.
2. What happens to my ‘Out of Office’ message after the specified end time?
Your ‘Out of Office’ message will automatically deactivate after the end time you have set. All incoming emails will not receive your OoO message after this time.
3. Can I set an ‘Out of Office’ message for multiple email accounts in the Outlook app?
Yes, you can set different ‘Out of Office’ messages for each email account you have added to your Outlook app. Just select the appropriate account in the ‘Settings’ menu when setting up the ‘Automatic Replies.’