Brutally honest 'In-The-Office' automated email replies

Sometimes you’re very much in the office — you’re just straight-up unwilling to respond to email because your Kijiji search for the perfect electronic ferret-massager is entering its 52nd minute
(Shutterstock / Prostock-studio)

As a people, we've mastered the automated "Out-of-office" reply. But sometimes you're very much in the office — you're just straight-up unwilling to respond to email because your Kijiji search for the perfect electronic ferret-massager is entering its 52nd minute and you have very understandably chosen to prioritize that. Here are five automated email replies to help foster a culture of brutal honesty in your workplace.


Thanks for your email. I am technically in the office but currently engrossed in a YouTube video where a raven learns to solve a simple puzzle. I therefore have limited access to email. I will respond to your email after I've finished the video, have managed to process the constant and enduring miracle of the animal kingdom, and have stopped crying.




Hello! I am in the office today but one glance at my living nightmare of an inbox this morning has given me paralyzing full-body anxiety. I will respond to your message either in four months or never at any point.

If your matter is urgent, don't even think about calling me on the phone. Just go inside yourself. Why are you constantly looking for external validation? Everything you need is within.





The item, initiative, or feedback you want from me is not ready and thus I will not be responding to you for a significant yet unspecified length of time. I am extremely aware you want it. I am at my desk and opened your email the nanosecond you sent it. However, in an effort to avoid awkwardness with my entire being while also mitigating my own feelings of failure, I will be unreachable for the rest of a while.




Good morning, and thanks for your email. An individual with whom I attended high school 22 years ago made a distasteful remark on my half-sister's Facebook post about veganism, so I am currently embroiled in a violent argument with someone I only vaguely remember and do not care about at all. I will respond to your email once I have selected and posted the most emotionally devastating Simpsons meme I can possibly find and my systolic blood pressure has returned to normal.

Thank you,


"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."


Thanks for your email. I dread interacting with you due to our brief, ill-advised office romance of 2013 and avoid doing so at all costs. I will be in the office today during regular business hours and will be spending every minute of those hours in a heightened state of angst and uncertainty about how to respond to your message in such a way that communicates "I'm over it" and "I'm professional" with a dash of "I'm too good for you" plus a hint of "And I always was."

As you can probably appreciate, this is an extremely difficult note to strike. I wish to get it exactly right. You may expect to hear from me sometime in the next seven business years.



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About the Author

Sophie Kohn


Sophie Kohn is writer and producer with CBC Comedy, a stand-up comedian in Toronto, and a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program.