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You really don’t have any control over where that email is going to end up and who is going to see it. You’d be mad to say “I’m in San Francisco at the O’Reilly Fluent Conference, so come and clean out my office (or my hotel), I won’t stop you.” Hmmm… we thought we would jot down some notes about what to say (or not) in an autoreply so you can have peace on mind while you’re away…

Things to include:

  • That this is an automatic reply
  • When the recipient can expect a real response
  • What action they can take if they need to contact someone sooner

Things to leave out:

  • Why you are unavailable or where you are going. People don’t need to know if it’s a family emergency or if you are sunning yourself in Fiji. Also, saying you are away can open yourself up to being burgled.
  • What day you left
  • Excuses
  • Your email signature. This often contains a bunch of information that you don’t want to get into the wrong hands. Just your name will suffice.
  • “I have received your email.” Actually it’s not true, a computer has received the email and everybody knows it.

Here’s an example:


My apologies but I am unavailable until [DATE] and won’t be able to get back to you until then. 

If you need more immediate assistance, please email Louise Giles (louise@husk.co.nz).  

Kind Regards, 

Annie Kyles