Out of Office Messages With Unknown Return Date (2022)

Here's how to write an out of office message with an unknown return date. It's always professional to create an out-of-office message to alert your colleagues and clients when you're leaving the office for an extended length of time. Out-of-office communications should usually contain your return date so that everyone knows when to expect you back, but you may not know when that will be in some circumstances.

While you're gone, knowing how to compose an out-of-office message with no return date might help you enhance communication and efficiency.

out of office message unknown return date

What is an out-of-office notification for a return date that is unknown?

When you're out of the office for an unclear period, an out-of-office message for an unknown return date is an automatic response sent to the sender, usually through email or phone. The notice informs the sender that you will be unable to answer their email immediately away, giving them the option of contacting someone else or waiting for your response. It seems like a regular out-of-office notice, but it doesn't offer any information about when you'll be back.

Out-of-office messages can get used for any time, including a few hours, a few days, or even weeks. The following are some of the most typical reasons for sending an out-of-office message:

  • Leave of absence for mothers
  • Leave of absence
  • Sick vacation due to an appointment
  • Taking part in a workshop
  • A family emergency while attending a conference
out of office message unknown return date

What not to say in an automated response

Professionalism and realism should get maintained in out-of-office messaging. It would help if you stayed away from:

  • Giving too much information.Direct responses should get provided automatically. Remove any information from the email that isn't essential.
  • You say you'll react as soon as you get back.When you return to the workplace, it might take time to catch up on emails, phone calls, and tasks. Try not to expect that you'll be able to react to a missed message as soon as you get back.
  • Using a colleague's help without their permission.It's good to provide a colleague's contact information if something important comes up while you're away. However, before including your colleague's details, make sure you have their consent.

The significance of composing an out-of-office message

When you're gone, it's critical to leave an out-of-office note so your colleagues and clients may discover alternative solutions to the problems they're writing to you about. If individuals who send you emails or phone you for assistance don't get an out-of-office message, they could be perplexed by your lack of response. An out-of-office message also ensures that anyone attempting to contact you did not send a message to the incorrect email address.

Using a courteous out-of-office message keeps individuals who contact you informed and usually provides them with a solution, such as offering a colleague's contact information who may assist them instead. You may have your out-of-office message sent automatically whenever you get an email. You may also record an out-of-office voicemail message that people will hear when they try to reach you.

What should you put in an out-of-office message?

So that you may leave the office with confidence, your out-of-office should be pleasant and brief. Here are the parts of your out-of-office message that must get included:

  • Include a helpful headline or subject line:Include a headline in your out-of-office message so readers may easily understand what your auto-response email is about. It may be as essential as an Out-of-Office message, as long as it conveys your message.
  • Include a nice message:Include a friendly greeting to begin your out-of-office message, such as Hello, thank you for your message, or Hi, thank you for contacting us. This notice demonstrates to your receivers that you're serious about their email.
  • Your absence is due to the following reasons:Explain why you're out of the office and why you're out of the office. If you're away for a personal reason, you don't need to go into great detail.
  • Dates of your absence are as follows:Include the start and end dates of your expected absence. In certain circumstances, such as when you're sick, you may not know when you'll be able to return. If this is the case, it's OK to leave out the dates and just state, "I'll react as soon as I can," or "I'll get back to you when I'm back in the office."
  • Who to call in an emergency:Your clients or coworkers may want quick assistance, so it's good to include an alternate contact in your out-of-office message. Include their name, email address, and phone number and the fact that they can assist your clients or colleagues while you are away.
  • Finally, a conclusion:Finish your out-of-office message with a brief statement that apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates individuals attempting to contact you for their patience. For example, I apologize for any trouble this has caused. When I return to the workplace, I hope to contact you.

Writing an out-of-office message

Consider the following suggestions when you write your out-of-office message to make it perfect:

  • Be succinct.Your out-of-office message should be brief and to the point so that anyone attempting to call you understands you're unavailable. Avoid adding material that isn't required to keep your message to a paragraph.
  • Make it unclear when you intend to respond.You may have a lot of work to catch up on when you return, so you may need to postpone a phone call or an email answer. Say you'll react as soon as you can rather than as soon as you get in the office to prevent disappointment.
  • Talk to your colleague.Before you include your colleague's contact information in your message, ask them first. This notice increases your colleague's workload. Before you make any calls or send any emails to them, be sure you have their consent.
  • Check for issues.Check your out-of-office message for problems before setting it up as an automated response. This quality check might include faults in language, punctuation, spelling in an email, or incorrect information in a voicemail.
  • Provide an alternative contact.Don't only use an email address for the person who will help respond promptly. Include a phone number. This information is useful for those who need immediate help or immediate attention on an issue.
  • List an expected return date.You can suggest that the expected return date is a projected date and isn't confirmed.

Template for an out-of-office notice with an undetermined return date

Use the following template to construct your out-of-office message if you don't know when you'll be back:


Thank you for getting in touch with me. Due to [reason], I am temporarily out of the office. Please contact [name of alternate contact], [contact information] if you require immediate assistance. Otherwise, I'm looking forward to getting back to work and answering.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

[Your name here]

How do I set an auto-responder message in Google Business?

To set an auto-responder messagethrough Google Business orGmail, go toward the top of the page. And go to the Settings icon. Click that and then go into "See all settings." From there, scroll down to where it says "Vacation responder," and you'll be able to place your office autoresponder email messages, typically using a start and end date.

Once you save this, auto-response messages will get sent to any incoming email using automatic replies.

Learn how to set up auto-replies for a group.

Out of office message examples with an unknown return date

Here are some instances of out-of-office notices with an unknown return date:

Examples of sick leave

Consider the following scenarios if you're out of the workplace due to illness and aren't sure when you'll be able to return:


Thank you for contacting me via email. I'm currently on sick leave and out of the office. Suzy Jacob may be reached at [email protected] if you want emergency assistance. Otherwise, I look forward to responding to your email when I return.

Warm regards,

Amy Brian

Second example


Thank you for contacting me via email. Unfortunately, I am out of the office due to illness. I am hoping to recover quickly, but in the meanwhile, please get in touch with Jack Feder at [email protected] for assistance.

I'm looking forward to going back to work and reconnecting with you. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your patience.

Best wishes,

Wilma Brian

Emergency leave

Consider the following scenarios if an emergency arises that requires you to leave work unexpectedly:


Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Unfortunately, I'm now out of the office due to a family situation, and I'm not sure when I'll be back. Please get in touch with Ernie Myer at [email protected] if you require immediate assistance. We apologize for any trouble this has caused. I intend to react to your email as soon as possible.

Thank you very much.

Darren Hoyt

Second example


Thank you for getting in touch with me. Because I have a personal situation to attend to, I will be out of the office for the foreseeable future. I expect to be back by the end of the week, but don't hesitate to get in touch with Dan Dickerson at [email protected] if you want immediate assistance. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your patience. Please accept my apologies for any trouble this has caused.

Warm regards,

Brian Coffee

Examples of parental leave

If you're on parental leave and don't know when you'll be back, just put "month" or "estimated return date" in the box. Consider the following scenario:


Thank you for getting in touch. Beginning June 20, 2021, I will be out of the office on parental leave. In December 2021, I intend to return. I will not be checking my emails to focus on my family during this period. Don't hesitate to contact John Smith at [email protected] or 331-330-4408. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your patience. When I return to the workplace, I hope to contact you.

Sincere greetings,

Melissa Myer

Second example


Thank you for contacting me via email. Beginning August 10, 2021, I will be out of the office on maternity leave. My return date is tentative for January 10, 2022, although it might change. Don't hesitate to contact Ryan Smith @ 331-343-3048 for assistance, since I will not be checking my emails during this period. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your patience. When I return to work, I want to communicate with you.

Best wishes,

Andy Smith

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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