How to write an out-of-office message when leaving company

Employee dismissals and resignations happen all the time at private companies and public institutions. Nevertheless, there are some important things to consider in this situation. For example, setting up an auto-reply email is very important. Whereas a former employee’s work phone number can simply be rerouted, email accounts are more difficult to manage. There are several things to keep in mind when setting up and composing an auto-reply email for departing employees. Use our tips and templates to create an out-of-office email for your own email address or to set up an auto-reply for a former employee’s email account.

Why it’s important to have an auto-reply email

Email is the primary form of communication in the workplace today. Therefore, most of a former employee’s professional contacts are stored in the person’s email account, and this information should not be lost after the employee leaves. These contacts are extremely valuable for the company, especially if the former employee had a lot of customer correspondence.

In most cases, a former employee’s phone calls can be easily forwarded to a new point of contact. However, an ex-employee’s emails should not simply be rerouted to another email address. In the worst-case scenario, future email inquiries would go unanswered if an automatic response has not been set up. Nevertheless, a former employee’s email account should not simply be deleted. Any emails sent to the deleted address would bounce back to the sender, who wouldn’t know why the message couldn’t be delivered.


You should always create an auto-reply email, even if you sent a goodbye email to coworkers and customers before leaving the company. Someone might forget that you no longer work for the company and send a message to your old work email address, in which case their email would go unanswered.

What information should an auto-reply email include?

The purpose of the out-of-office message for terminated or departing employees is to ensure that inbound emails can be processed and answered. If a person is no longer with the company, the out-of-office message should name a new contact with an email address and possibly a telephone number. The auto-reply email for a former employee should also clearly state that the recipient of the email is no longer with the company and cannot process or forward the email. Furthermore, the auto-reply message should match the company’s tone and sound objective and professional, which is true for any successful out-of-office email.


An auto-reply email is very easy to set up and manage. Use this guide if you want to set up an out-of-office message in Outlook.

What you shouldn’t include in an auto-reply email for former employees

A dismissal or resignation can be fraught. However, the out-of-office email should not mention the reason for dismissal or portray the ex-employee or the company in a negative light. If you’re setting up your own out-of-office reply before leaving your job, do not bad-mouth your former employer.

Furthermore, it’s not customary or appropriate to mention your new employer or include your personal email address, new business email address, or LinkedIn profile – unless you have a justifiable reason and your employer’s permission. Instead, you should put this information in your goodbye email to coworkers and customers so they know how to contact you after you leave your job.

Auto-reply email templates for former employees

An auto-reply email for former employees can be set up by the owner of the email account or by another person with authorized access to the former employee’s email account. We’ve created sample out-of-office emails for both cases:

Example of an auto-reply email by a departing employee


Thank you for your message. I am no longer with [name of company] as of [date] and unfortunately, I can no longer answer your email. Please direct all future inquiries to [first name, last name] at [email] or [phone]. He/she will be happy to assist you. Please note that your email will not be forwarded automatically.


[first and last name]

Example of an auto-reply email by management

Dear sender,

Thank you for your email. [first name, last name] is no longer with [name of company] as of [date] and unfortunately can no longer answer your email. Please direct your inquiries to [first name, last name] at [email] or [phone]. He/she will be happy to assist you. Please note that your email will not be forwarded automatically.


[company name]

Consider a new email address before leaving

Up to now, did you exclusively use your work email account for all your electronic communications? Before leaving your job, you should consider a private alternative to your work email, such as a secure email address from IONOS. You can use this email address for sending applications or communicating with potential employers.

Hosted Microsoft Exchange from IONOS gives you secure, remote, and easy access to your data, documents, calendar, and emails across all your devices in the popular Microsoft environment.