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5 Out of Office Messages That Set Professional Boundaries

Updated: Nov 9, 2022



You might be looking forward to a vacation, time with family, etc. in the next couple of weeks on your schedule. I want you to enjoy your time off and set boundaries with ease to minimize distractions. Taking time off away from “work” is much needed to rejuvenate your spirit and build new inspiration. This article will provide tips on setting professional boundaries and maximizing your out-of-office messages on your email.


As a first-generation Latina, I would always dread creating an out-of-office message that maintained professionalism and boundaries at the same time. I learned over time that a response is better than no response. Also, this is an opportunity to show your authentic and human side and not easily get sucked into a hustle culture mentality.


What are out-of-office messages?

You can set up automated messages to be sent to any email sender to provide them with information that you are not readily available. These messages allow the other person to know the reasoning behind your lack of response. Out-of-office messages can be set up ahead of time and set for a certain time period. For example, if you are planning a trip Friday-Tuesday, you can set it up for Thursday at the end of your shift to Wednesday at the beginning of your shift.


What should you include in the out-of-office message?

  • Thank the individual for reaching out

  • Dates you will not be available

  • The reason you won’t respond

  • Alternative contact/option for resolving an issue of importance


Why is it important to have an out-of-office message?

This develops a personalized message to those that are trying to contact you. You will not be seen as unresponsive and provides background on your absence. It is also important to share and be vulnerable about your reasoning, don’t be afraid to show that you are human.


Here are some examples of Out-of-Office Messages:

  1. Conference: Thank you for your email. I am not in the office and am actively engaging in professional development in (City, State). I will not be responding to emails during this conference, as I will be focused on learning. I will be out (insert dates) and will respond to emails starting (return to work date).

  2. Vacation: Thank you for your email. I am not in the office and spending some well-deserved time off in (City/State). I will not be responding to emails during this time, as I will be taking this time to rejuvenate to best serve you in the future. I will be out (insert dates) and will respond to emails starting (return to work date).

  3. Family Event: Thank you for your email. I will not be in the office and will be unable to respond. I will be busy attending to family needs and will not have access to email. I will be out (insert dates) and will respond to emails starting (return to work date).

  4. Undisclosed Event: Thank you for your email, I am not in the office and will be able to respond to your email at a later time. I will be out (insert dates) and will respond to emails starting (return to work date).

  5. Emergency: Thank you for your email. I am currently not available, as I am attending to a personal/family emergency. I do not have an exact time of return at this time and will have limited access to email. If you need an immediate response, please email (provide contact email & name of individual).

P. S. Always Check for Grammar!


It is important to check for grammar and punctuation, to make sure you are representing yourself well. One of my favorite tools is Grammarly, and I downloaded it onto my computer so it can check my work in real time throughout all of my applications.


Download Grammarly Here:




Set It & Forget It

Now, this is important, you need to set your message and trust it to set your work boundaries and don’t check your email. The only way that you can effectively set boundaries, is if you follow through with your expectations and boundaries. If you write an out-of-office message and are constantly responding to emails, then your peers won’t believe that they can’t access you.


You need to be confident that your workplace can survive without you and set clear boundaries. These out-of-office messages can set the tone for your work-life balance and can enforce your professional boundaries.


Live your worth,


Cindy Alvarez

@CareerConfidentMujer




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