Out of Office Template

Set your team up for success while you're gone

Managers, you want to truly unplug on vacay? Use this out of office template to set your team up to work independently so you can focus on ordering margaritas at the beach.

Out of Office Templates

Two Weeks before Vacay:

  • Add to your e-signature in bold. “Note: I will be on vacation and not checking email on these dates.”
  • CC your relevant staff on emails for two weeks before you leave so they have the full email history of projects that they may have to lead in your absence and so that the people you’re corresponding with have another name to email when you’re out.
  • Discuss in your 1:1 check-ins the work load and plan for when you will be out and start trouble shooting things that may come up during that time.
  • Express to your staff, “I want you to feel empowered to make decisions in my absence. What can I do now and what can I provide to help you feel confident making decisions when I’m gone?”

One Week Before Vacay:

  • Email your fellow leaders, any relevant program staff, and/or board members with your vacation dates and lay out who they should contact on your team for what.
  • Go through your email and forward any threads they might need for reference.
  • Make sure all of your docs are uploaded to shared folders.
  • Go through timecards, receipts uploads, and other managerial tasks that only you can do to get those done before you go.
  • Create any needed task lists or projects lists for your team. Help them organize and plan.
  • Schedule a team meeting to go over anything else that may come up. Sit back and let your team problem solve together.
  • Be clear about how your team can reach you in case of an emergency. My preferred method is text. Set up whatever works for you and be clear with your team.
  • Express to your staff, “I trust you to make decisions while I’m gone.”

One Day before Vacay:

  • Schedule your out of office messages with the relevant staff’s emails listed as contact. Use this out of office template wording, “I will be on vacation these dates and will not be checking email. Please contact the following staff for immediate assistance.”
  • Then, turn off ALL notifications on your phone: email, calendar, Teams/Slack, etc. Some people like to delete the apps, but I just turn off notifications.
  • Shut your laptop, turn it off, and store it away.

Unplug and enjoy your vacay! You deserve it.

Struggling to share decision-making with your team? Sign up for 1:1 coaching. Let’s build your confidence to delegate!


Shannon Bowen, Founder + CEO of Monsoon Leadership is a career advancement coach, job search expert, salary whisperer, nonprofit executive, and a lifelong straight-talker. She's dedicated to helping nonprofit professionals land their dream job and dream salary!


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