Learning English on holidayThe Boston School helps French and German speaking employees of Swiss company offices to improve their internal communications, using tools such as these good out of office email replies in English.

It is important to remember just who will receive your out of office e-mail response and how will they react if it is poorly worded?

Listed below are some real examples of error messages and an explanation of why they are wrong. 

Please feel free to use in your lessons or to copy and paste for your work and why not follow us on Facebook as well!

Should you or your company need an English language school in Switzerland, we hope the provision of resources like this will help you think of The Boston School when you next review your learning needs.


Common out of office email mistakes (all are real examples)

Date Confusion

I will be out of the office starting 09/08/2017 and will not return until 23/08/2017.

In Europe and many other places in the world, 09/08/2017 means August 9th, 2017. In the US, the month comes before the day so would be understood as the 8th of September, possibly causing some confusion.

Mixing Language

Thank you for your message. Sorry I’m not in the Office until 20th of Mai and I have no access to my Emails.

In urgent cases please contact XXXX. (Phone +41 …. Email: xxxx)

Freundliche Grüsse

Kind regards


Use of Slang / Informal

*** BIZ trip until 12. Sept 2017 ***

*** please contact XX XXX ***

*** for urgent calls: +41 xx xxx xxx ***

The use of asterisks, biz instead of business project an informal relationship which may not be in line with your corporate standards.

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Thank you for your support

Acceptable examples include:

Example 1

Thank you for your e-mail.

I am out of the office till Thursday, 27th of April 2017 and your email will not be forwarded.

Should the matter be important, please contact XXXX XXX ( email address) in my absence.

Best regards

Your  Name


Example 2 (refer to a colleague whilst you are away)

Dear Mail Sender,

Thank you for your mail. I will be out of office from today and will be back on Thursday, May 27th. I will have limited access to my e-mail during this period.

In my absence, please feel free to contact XX XX on +41 44 319 3338 or e-mail XXX@thebostonschool.com.

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your  Name


Example 3

I will be out of the office till October 24th 2017. I will respond to your e-mail as soon as possible on my return.

Please note, that your mail will not be forwarded. For any urgent matters, please contact XX XX at  XX@thebostonschool.com.

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your  Name


Example 4 (voted most popular !)

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office from [DAY, DATE] to [DAY, DATE] and unable to respond at this time.

I will review your message following my return on [DAY, DATE]. If you need immediate assistance, contact [Name, phone number and email address].

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,

Your  Name

Best Practice

It is important to recognise your company standards and practices when creating an out of office email reply. Too often it is the last thing we do before we leave for our holidays, so mistakes are common.

It is important to provide a point of reference, a colleague as an alternative contact and that they know you have elected them to cover for you whilst you are away.

Too help you further, we have added a simple skills and student resource sheet for your reference.


Out of Office Business Skills Worksheet The Boston School
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