With the holiday season fast approaching, many of us will be taking extra days off to visit with out-of-state relatives, catch up on Christmas shopping, or simply recharge our batteries during this most hectic time of the year. Part of the vacation or PTO ritual involves updating your voicemail reply and setting up an out-of-office notification on your email. Nobody said these messages had to be boring; why not inject a little laughter into somebody’s day with a humorous response instead? So long as your HR department doesn’t object, of course!
Humorous Out-of-Office Replies
We’ve all had the experience of trying to contact somebody for information, leaving a message and then wondering why they don’t respond. It’s always frustrating when someone is out of the office but fails to leave a notification. When you’re going to be gone from work for a few hours or longer – whether it’s a state or federal holiday or you’re taking PTO or a vacation day – you’ll want to set up an out-of-office reply for your phone and computer to let others know you are unavailable. There are a few important points to convey in these messages:
- How long you are going to be gone
- The date of your expected return
- An alternate contact who will be covering your work while you’re out
Beyond that, the sky’s the limit. Some people leave a straightforward message, but where’s the fun in that? If your employer is okay with something a little more lighthearted, consider a funny response instead. Like Carol Roth, the founder of a funeral and estate-planning service in Chicago, does. Carol usually leaves some version of the following out-of-office reply when she is going to be gone:
“I am unplugged and away from my e-mail until [date]. Right now, I am either in the spa getting a massage, gazing at the ocean or maybe just messing with you. You decide. Due to the volume of daily e-mails that I receive, I won’t be able to respond back to any e-mail received during my absence.
“For my sanity, all e-mails during that time will be mass-deleted upon my return. If this is an important matter, please reach out again after [date]. If it’s not an important matter, please stop e-mailing people and go have some fun!”
For added effect, you might consider enhancing your reply with photos, memes, GIFs, or even – as Sean Leahy, a sales manager for an event planning firm in New York City, does – funny cat videos. The trick is to strike that perfect balance between professionalism and humor. You’ll want to shy away from anything that might be construed as offensive or paints your practice in a bad light. But most people enjoy a good laugh and understand that your time off is essential to your quality of life. So, go ahead and have fun with it!