Streamline Your Out-of-Office Notifications with a Bot

Streamline Your Out-of-Office Notifications with a Bot

When you go out-of-office, your colleagues and clients need to know that you’re away and when you’re coming back.

Over the years the easiest option to inform everyone was using an email out-of-office template. But these days we have so many channels of communication that email messages alone might not be enough.

Thankfully, we can set up a notification bot that will provide out-of-office responses across different channels.

Tune in to find the option that works best for your case.

1. Slack Bot

How it works: whenever someone reaches out in Slack, they will get a message with details on why you’re absent and when you come back. 

You set your out-of-office email, but people keep knocking on your Slack? Well, it’s time to set up a bot that will handle all the direct messages you receive from colleagues and clients while you’re away. 

Here’s how you can set up and configure an out-of-office bot in Slack.

First, download the bot from the Slack app directory. For this example, we’ll use Geekbot as it’s one of the most popular and easiest bots for Slack. Open the Slack app directory and search “Geekbot”. Click “Install”.

As soon as you install Geekbot for your Slack workplace, it will send you a direct message with a link to its dashboard where you can create your first workflow. 

To set up an out-of-office bot in Slack, simply send a direct message to Geekbot  /geekbot out of office 

Geekbot will then ask you when you are going to be away.

Feel free to reply in a conversational manner, Geekbot will be able to understand you. 

You can schedule out-of-office messages ahead of time and browse through all scheduled out-of-office periods by clicking the button above. 

You can also edit your dates, or add another OOO message.

During that period. Geekbot will automatically update your Slack status to Do-Not-Disturb. 

Hint: There’s also Geekbot app for MS Teams.

2. Calendar Bot

How it works: automatically send a message to whoever tries to invite you to a meeting during your absence.

Note: Google Calendar out-of-office events are only available to GSuite users. 

Google Calendar allows you to mark days as unavailable, and as a result, any meeting requests during that time will be automatically declined. You can also customize a personalized automated response to inform individuals that you’re away and when you’ll return. This feature is particularly useful when you need to take a break or a day off. Moreover, you can manually modify the settings if you prefer.

Plus, Google is pretty smart – they’ll try to detect when you’re creating an out-of-office entry based on the title you enter, yet you can manually adjust the dates if needed. 

3. Zapier Integration

If you want to create a chain of events and need to integrate multiple tools together, you can use Zapier.

Here are a few examples of OOO bot workflows that can be created with Zapier:

  • Update Slack status based on Google Calendar, Calendly, and other calendar tools
  • Send messages in Slack whenever someone creates a new OOO event in HR software
  • Update Slack status based on Trello or Asana project updates

The list goes on and on. To check if your current tools are compatible with Zapier, go to the Zapier website and type in your tools’ names to see what integrations are available.

4. Company Chatbot

How it works: anyone who visits your website and reaches out through company chat will receive a message about your availability.

There are rare times when your entire company might go on a group retreat or a holiday, and during that time you need a way to communicate that to your customers.

The easiest way to do that is to set up a company chatbot on your website, especially when your company has a strong online presence and people often contact you via the website.

Almost every company chatbot supports out-of-office messages in one way or another, and it should be pretty easy to set up.

Below we’ll provide an example of how to set up an out-of-office bot on your website if you’re using Intercom chat.

For setting up an OOO message with the Intercom bot, open settings and find “Special notice” under the “Conversations” menu:

There you can set a message that your customers will see whenever they try to write to you via web chat. Additionally, you can set up links to your FAQ database to make sure your customers can find solutions even when your support department is away.

We hope the mentioned bot options helped you set up notifications when you are out-of-office!

Frequently asked questions

How can a notification bot help streamline out-of-office notifications?

A notification bot can automate the process of informing colleagues and clients about your absence across various communication channels, eliminating the need for manual email templates and ensuring a consistent and efficient notification system.

What are the benefits of using a notification bot for out-of-office messages?

Using a notification bot enables you to deliver timely and personalized out-of-office responses, maintain professional communication, and keep stakeholders informed through multiple channels, ultimately enhancing productivity and ensuring a seamless transition while you're away.

Which communication channels can be utilized by a notification bot for out-of-office messages?

A notification bot can deliver out-of-office responses through various channels, such as email, instant messaging platforms (e.g., Slack, Microsoft Teams), and even social media platforms, ensuring comprehensive coverage and reaching recipients through their preferred means of communication.

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