Back to resources

Don’t ignore the out-of-office message…

Maybe you work part-time. Or maybe you’re about to head off on your summer holiday or bank holiday weekend? If so, don’t forget to put your out-of-office message on before you go. We look at how what you say matters. And why it can help part-time workers to have one all year round.   

What you say is particularly important if you have clients or external contacts who will be expecting to hear from you. But it’s also important if new business leads are likely to contact you.

We’ve been reading again about some of the more unusual responses employees have used as their out-of-office message in this BBC article. Rick Astley’s ‘never gonna reply’ was our personal favourite, but there is a serious message here too.

“Yesssss, I’m out of here!”

If you try to be too creative, it could end up backfiring – particularly in certain business sectors.  So, what should your out-of-office message say?

  • Be polite and to the point.
  • Give the dates you are unavailable and when you’ll be back in the office.
  • Give an alternative contact who will be available while you are away.


Part-time out-of-office message

When you work part-time or flexibly, it can be useful to have an out-of-office message stating the days and times you’re available. You could also include the best means of contacting you if you are out of the office, in case of an emergency – although you don’t have to.

An example could be: “Here at <employer>, we work flexibly. My working days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.”

Part-time work not ‘jobs for mums’

Deborah O’Sullivan, Managing Director at Ten2Two says, “Ultimately, part-time work should mean part-time. Remember, you’re not getting paid for the days you’re not in the office, so it is not a reflection of your commitment to your job that you are part-time.”

She adds, “Unfortunately, in some cases, an education job still needs doing around part-time workers. They’re not just ‘jobs for mums’ and the out-of-office message can help people to understand part-time work more.”

Here are some ways to positively model part-time working:

  1. Never say you ‘only’ work part-time. You’re probably working full-time (at home with your kids and at work) but you’re only getting paid for part-time hours.
  2. If someone tells you to have a nice day off, this can be hard if you feel your ‘day off’ isn’t really exactly a day off. You can always tell your colleagues your day off is simply you working your other (unpaid) job.
  3. Make sure everyone knows the expectation of you. If you need to be available in case of an emergency eg you work within or manage a team, let people know how you’d prefer to be contacted, by email or telephone.
  4. Note that if you prefer to be contacted by email, you’re setting an expectation that you’ll be checking emails on your day off. This is probably best avoided.

You might be putting your out-of-office message on to go on holiday or if you’ve just got a brand new part-time role. Whatever your situation, we wish you lots of luck for the future. Enjoy the holiday period and if you’re juggling childcare, we hope it goes well.

If you’re thinking it’s time to find a new role or employ a part-time worker, please contact our recruitment agency today. We look forward to hearing from you.

3 min read