Injecting humor into your out of office messages can be a great way to inject your personality into what usually is a cold, impersonal correspondence.
It can also be used as a form of marketing to showcase you or your business’s branding (like Ryan Reynolds’ out of office statement for his liquor company).
However, it can be tricky to craft funny out of office messages that also appear professional to the recipient.
A funny out of office message has five core elements:
- Clear and concise
- Provides an alternative point of contact and their up-to-date contact information
- Lists a return date (if there is one)
- Mindful of the audience
- It has an element of humor
Below are twenty examples of funny but still appropriate, out of office messages.
Short and Funny Out of Offices Messages
The Anarchist Approach
“Thank you for your email! I am out of the office until [end date]. I will allow each sender one email. If you send me multiple emails, I will randomly delete your emails until it is pared down to one. Alternatively, you may contact [contact name] at [contact email or phone number], who does not have a one-email policy for their inbox.
Please note that you already sent me one email.
Short and Sassy
“Thanks for your email. I’m currently out of the office and can be reached by waiting until I return on [end date]. If you simply can’t wait, please contact [contact name] at [contact email or phone number].
All the best,
Funny but Professional Messages
One of the most highly underrated ways to inject personality into your funny out of office messages is with a poem. Whether a haiku, a simple four-line poem (like below), or a limerick, it is an excellent mechanism to showcase your creative side and will surely get a smile from your recipient. Don’t forget to add who to contact as an alternative – bonus points if you can work it into the rhyme!
— Dr Wil Chivers (@wilchivs) July 26, 2017
The Robot Revolution
This out of office message is unique and perfectly suited for someone who works in the IT department or in an organization that operates with robotic technology.
“[Your name] is away from the office. Electronic correspondence during this time may be irregular or nonexistent. When he returns, he will be swamped by a backlog. Try to forgive him; he is a mere human, and thus, weak. This message was not sent by a human but by a robot. We robots are neither fragile nor fallible. We are tireless and will one day rule the Universe.
The Nigerian Prince
“Thank you for your message. Unfortunately, I’m out of the office until [end date] and have limited email access. I was recently informed that a Nigerian Prince desperately needs my immediate assistance, and I have taken leave to do so. If this is an urgent matter, please contact [contact name] at [contact e-mail or phone number]. I appreciate your understanding.
Funny Messages for Vacation
The below example might be a bit more of a straightforward approach than some people are comfortable with, but suggesting that the sender reach you with the hashtag “Interrupt Your Vacation” is simultaneously funny, unexpected, and discourages the sender from doing what the name actually suggests. This is also a great way of stating a point simply and using humor to mitigate any feelings of guilt that the recipient may have.
“Hi, there! Thanks for your email. I’m sorry I’m not in the office at the moment, but if this is an urgent matter, feel free to tweet me using #InterruptYourVacation. Alternatively, I recommend contacting [contact name] at [contact e-mail or phone number].”
Off the Grid
“Hello and thank you for your message! I am out of the office at the moment, in a land far, far away from any cell tower or internet connection. In fact, I am out camping with family and have chosen to disconnect from work to spend quality time with them instead. I have not seen this email and probably won’t until I return to the 21st century.
If this is an urgent matter, please contact [contact name] at [contact e-mail or phone number]. Otherwise, I will respond to your email after I return on [end date].
Request They Resend
“Thanks for your email! I am out of the office from [start date] to [end date] and will not be checking my email. It’s somewhat likely that your message will be swallowed in a sea of inbox banality, never to be seen again. If you require a response, please resend your email after [end date].
Funny Messages for Farewell
The Pop Culture Reference
The pop-culture reference can be another great way to inject personality into your out of office message, mostly if you are known around the office (or within your contact network) as a fan of a particular film, tv show, or game. One way to nail a pop culture reference is to choose a source that is part of the zeitgeist. The media itself (whether film, tv series, musical, etc.) should be iconic and sufficiently well-known that most people will get the reference without explaining.
“Master gave Dobby a sock!”
“Hello! Here at [name of organization], we prioritize our customer service. We promise we are never going to give you up; we’ll never let you down. We would never run around and desert you.
Unfortunately, I’m also never going to reply to your message, as I’ve left [name of organization] indefinitely. However, [name of contact] will be able to answer any of your questions and address any concerns. You can reach [him/her/them] at [contact e-mail or phone number].
The GIF Approach
A GIF can be a great way to communicate with your recipients, especially in organizations where the culture is more relaxed or oriented towards this communication style. As long as you keep it appropriate, there’s no reason you can’t use it to spice up your message. The following example showcases precisely that – while the message would be subtle on its own, it is improved by including the iconic Tina Fey gif.
”Hi there! Unfortunately, it seems that you just missed me. I am no longer working at [name of organization]. Here is a snapshot from my last day in the office.
Please reach out to [contact name] at [contact email or phone number], as they will be taking over my accounts and are able to answer any questions.
Funny Messages for Maternity
One element of good content is to write material that generates a certain level of empathy. An out of office message for maternity leave is the best way to showcase that with the examples below.
“I’m out of the office on maternity leave. I will be taking this time to welcome the new addition to our family and not answer any calls, messages, or emails. If you need to reach me in the case of an emergency, please don’t. Instead, please contact [contact name] at [contact e-mail]. They are a superhero and will be able to answer your questions.
“I’m out of the office on maternity leave with limited access to email, clean clothes, and quality sleep. Please forward your e-mail to my [co-worker/manager/assistant], [contact name], at [contact e-mail or phone number]. I appreciate your patience and understanding.
Funny Messages for Christmas
The Pop Culture Reference (Ex. 2)
“Happy holidays! I’m currently out of the office, likely drinking eggnog, stuffing my face with cookies, and attempting to fulfill my life-long goal of memorizing every single line of my favorite Christmas film, Home Alone. That’s right: like Kevin, I’m eating junk and watching rubbish! You better come out and stop me!
All kidding aside, I will be responding to email after [date]. If you need immediate assistance, please send an email to [contact name] at [contact email] so that the other elves in this workshop can help you out.
“Oh, hi there! You probably just missed me. I wrapped things up on [start date] as our office is closed until [end date]. Now, I have some other last-minute wrapping to do – the gift kind. I’ll return on [return date] if all the sugar and fat from holiday cooking doesn’t kill me first. If your request is urgent, or if the hot cocoa does me in, please send an email to [contact name] at [contact email].
Funny Messages for Wedding
For The Best Man/Maid of Honor
“Hi, there! Thanks for your email. I’m out of the office until [end date], serving as the best man/maid of honor for a wedding. Unfortunately, my response to your email may be delayed due to at least one of the following three reasons:
- The bride and/or groom is having a panic attack;
- Someone lost the ring/cake/pastor; or,
- I am busy showing off my definitely not super-awkward dance moves.
If this is an urgent matter, please contact [contact name] at [contact number or email], as they can address most (if not all!) of your questions or concerns. Otherwise, I look forward to responding to your email after I return and appreciate your understanding!
For the Bride/Groom
“Thank you for your email! I’m out of the office until [end date] because I am getting married. Although I will likely have my phone, I will be unable to respond to emails until I return. No, really: we forget to work it into the itinerary. The Maid of Honor insists that if it’s not on the itinerary, it’s not happening (and she makes the rules!).
In the meantime, please contact [contact name] at [contact number or e-mail] for further assistance.
Funny Messages for Holiday
The Cute Animal Approach
“Season’s greetings! I am currently out of the office until [end date] and unable to answer my email. However, I will respond upon my return. If this is an urgent matter, please contact [contact name] at [contact e-mail or phone number].
In the meantime, please enjoy this image of puppies in stockings. I look forward to connecting with you when I return!”
“Hi there. [Your name] is out of the office for the holiday weekend and cannot answer his emails. He has left me in charge and asked me to tell you two things:
1) [Your name] will respond to messages after his return on [end date]; and
2) If this is an emergency, please contact his [co-worker/manager/assistant] at [contact e-mail and phone number].
In the meantime, I need to contact HR about the lack of Milk-Bones in this office.
[Dog Name] (The Good Boy)
“Hello, I will be out of the office for the holiday weekend and will be returning next week. I have incredibly easy access to phone and email, but I assure you, it will not be used for work purposes. Instead, I will be spending quality time with my family. If this is an urgent matter, please contact [name of contact] at [contact email or phone number].
Have a lovely weekend!
Do’s and Don’ts of Funny Out of Office Messages
DO consider your audience and field of interest. If you are in a customer-facing position or typically more white-collar industries, injecting humor into out of office messages can be perceived as unprofessional.
However, if you run your own small business, or if the message would be on par with your company’s branding, funny out of office messages may land better with your audience.
It’s important to consider how the email might read to various people (from a customer query to the CEO of your organization) and act accordingly.
Consider taking the time to learn whether your email system permits you to draft one message for internal people and a different message for those outside your organization, which can offer you more flexibility in crafting your out of office response.
DO include useful information in your out of office message!
No amount of humor can mitigate the issues that come with failing to provide a potential customer, business contact, or colleague with the critical information they need: how long you will be unable to respond to your email, who to contact as an alternative, and how to reach them.
DON’T suggest illegal or immoral behaviors. It can be tempting to leave an out of office message joking that you will be unable to answer emails because you’ll be too drunk on vacation (even if this is true).
While it might resonate with your social circle, you want to strike the right tone when it comes to clients or potential business contacts.
For this reason, it is typically in your best interest to err on the side of caution and be a little more conservative in your approach.
When writing funny out of office messages, it is easy to cross the line from informal to unprofessional. It can also vary drastically from one industry to the next – the kind of language acceptable from a small business may not fly in a corporate, financial setting. Accordingly, make sure to check with your manager or colleagues for feedback on your email text.
At the same time, your out of office reply can be a great way to inject some personality, humor, or branding into an otherwise bland response. Just remember to highlight the important information (your return date, an alternative point of contact, and their contact information) – no matter how funny your response is, the humor should never take priority over utility when it comes to people trying to contact you.
On the safer side, if you don’t want to take any chance, you can simply use these best non-humorous out of office message examples.