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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work Relationships

The Out-of-Office Message You Need When You Have to Take a Sick Day

person on phone in bed
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It’s decided—you can no longer come into the office without coughing up a storm or falling asleep while standing up (who would’ve thought that’s possible?), so you’re going to take a sick day.

Thank goodness! Because honestly, nobody wants to be around a sick person.

Before you log out for several hours—and after you’ve squared everything away with your team and emailed your boss—make sure to set your out-of-office message.

Why, you ask? For one thing, it’s probably a random weekday, so people are expecting you to respond to them—and when you don’t, they may either get upset or annoyed. And, if you work with clients, and your job requires you to be on call, suddenly going MIA could hurt your business.

Luckily, setting this up is super simple—and even simpler because we’ve written you the perfect template!

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Template #1 You Won’t Be Responding to Email


Thank you for your message. I’m out sick for the day, and in the hopes of recovering quickly (and getting back to my inbox!) I won’t be responding to email.

If it’s urgent, please reach out to [Co-worker’s/Boss’ Name] at [co-worker’s/boss’ email].

Stay healthy!

[Your Name]

Easy! The key is to be discreet—nobody wants to know what state you’re really in—and to give the person other options of people to contact.

OK, so let’s say you’re able to respond to email, just at a slower pace than usual. This message should do the trick:

Template #2 You’ll Be Responding to Email, But at a Slower Pace


Thank you for your email. I’m out sick for the day, and while I will be checking my inbox, I may be slower to respond than usual.

If it’s urgent, please respond with “URGENT” in the subject line and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thank you for your patience!

[Your Name]

Now that your out-of-office message is all set, crawl into bed, eat some soup, and get better! Your colleagues will thank you.

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