It started as a whim, one of my quirky moments when I get bored doing something mundane and decide to veer from the norm. I was writing the traditional “I am out of the office….” text in my auto response email and decided that it needed some “flavor” to it, especially since our organization isn’t the “mundane” type.
So I wrote:
Thank you for your email. I’ll be out of the office (dates). I will not have access to email during this time.
If you need something immediately please email (my organization’s customer service email).
In the meantime, how about a fun video of faculty talking about how free textbooks have impacted their students? https://youtu.be/uV1dd0CJEvc
I honestly didn’t think anyone would read it. But, when I came back and opened my email, I was shocked to find several responses to my out of the office message. Not only did people read the message, but they watched the video and wanted more!
Since then, I’ve made a point of incorporating key messages of my organization in my away messages in fun ways. And the trend of folks responding hasn’t slowed. Let’s be honest, no one expects to go to events and have colleagues say “I LOVE your away messages! I learn so much!” but I’ve had that happen more than once.
And, importantly, this attention is driving awareness of my organization’s mission and work.
So the next time you’ll be out of the office, I challenge you to think differently about your out of office messages. Is there a way that you can use them to further your organization’s message?