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Delegate work when you're out of office

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""1  Notify your co-workers

1.1 Share your out-of-office details

Choose your communication tool depending on who you're corresponding with (for example, send an email to your boss or a quick message to teammates).

1 Open Gmail.
2 On the left, click Compose "". You might see Compose "" instead.
3 (Optional) To change your window size, in the upper corner, click Maximize "" or Exit full screen Exit full-screen.
4 Add recipients and a subject.
5 Enter your message. Email you start writing but don't send are automatically saved in Drafts on the left.
6 (Optional) Add attachments, such as Drive files Insert file using Drive or photos Insert image.
7 Click Send.

Tip: To cancel sending an email, at the bottom of the window, click Undo. This option appears briefly, but you can change how long it lasts. See Undo sending your mail.

Map of where in inbox and email to click to do numbered steps 1 through 7 above

Send a direct message to someone:

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. If the name isn’t already under "Chat," click Start a chat "".
  3. Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text.
    • To send a 1:1 message to someone outside of your organization, enter their email address.
  4. Click the person you want to message.
  5. Enter a message, then click Send "".


Start a group conversation:

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. Under "Chat," click on an existing group conversation, enter a message and then click Send "".
  3. If the group conversation isn’t under "Chat,” click Start a chat ""and then Start group conversation.
  4. Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text.
  5. Click Done "".
  6. Enter a message, then click Send "".

Message a group

1.2 Add out-of-office dates to your calendar

If you’re out of the office, update your Google Calendar so co-workers know you’re away from work.

  1. In your calendar grid, click the first day that you're away from work.
  2. Click Out of office and select a time period.
  3. (Optional) To explain you're away from work, enter a message in the Decline message section.
  4. In the Visibility section, choose an option:
    • Public
    • Default visibility
    • Private
  5. Click Save. Any new and existing meetings during this time will be automatically declined.

Mark days out of office

1.3 Cancel or reschedule meetings

You also need to make sure you decline or reschedule any meetings. You can send a note to your guests to explain your absence or reschedule a meeting.

Decline a meeting and send a note to guests:

  1. Click the event.
  2. In the bottom-right corner, click the Up arrow "" and choose an option.
    • Add note—Enter your message, optionally change your event response, and click Send.
    • Propose a new time—On the left, choose the day and time, optionally add a message, and click Send proposal.

Note: All guests can propose a new time, except for events with more than 200 guests or all-day events.

Reschedule a meeting:

Note: If the event organizer has given you access to modify an event, you can reschedule it directly without proposing a new time.

  1. In Calendar, single-click the event in your calendar grid.
  2. Go to the Going? section and click the Down arrow""and thenPropose a new time.
  3. In the Your proposal section, select a different time or day and add a message.
  4. Click Send proposal.

Respond to a calendar event

1.4 Set up a vacation responder

In Gmail, set up an automated reply to incoming messages so co-workers know you’re unavailable.

Turn your vacation responder on or off:

Note: To use Vacation responder, your account must be at least 24 hours old.

  1. Open Gmail .
  2. At the top right, click Settings ""and thenSee all settings.
  3. Scroll down to Vacation responder and select Vacation responder on or Vacation responder off.
  4. If you turned on the vacation responder, enter the dates you're away and add a message. Then, select who should get a response.
  5. At the bottom, click Save Changes.

Set a vacation responder

""2  Prepare and assign work

2.1 Create a transition document

Create a transition document in Google Docs or Google Drive—explain you’re out of the office, list the contacts who are taking over your work, and any relevant project files.

Choose an option:

  • In Docs, click Create "".
  • In Drive, click New and then next to Google Docs, point to the Right arrow""and click Blank document or From a template.
Create new docs
2.2 Search for co-workers

If you’re handing over a project and you need to find other people in your organization, such as reviewers or managers, you can search for people in Google Cloud Search.

  1. Sign in to Cloud Search at cloudsearch.google.com.

    If you can't sign in, your account doesn't have Cloud Search. Learn more

  2. Search for a person by name.
  3. In the result card, to send an email, click the person's email address.
  4. To get other contact options or more reporting information, click the person's name to open their profile information page. 
  5. In the profile information page, click how you want to contact the person:
    • To send an email, click Email "" or the person's email address.
    • To set up a meeting, click Schedule "".
    • To chat, click Hangout "".
    • To start a video call, click Video call Video camera.
  6. To open the profile information page and contact the person's manager or direct reports, click the name of the manager or report.
2.3 Assign tasks and share files with co-workers

Assign tasks in the project plan:

  1. In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, select the text you'd like to comment on.
  2. Click Add comment "".
  3. Enter your comment in the box.
  4. (Optional) To direct your task or comment to a specific person, enter a plus sign (+) followed by their email address. You can add as many people as you want. Each person will get an email with your comment and a link to the file.
  5. (Optional) To assign the comment to a specific person, check the Assign to box.
  6. Click Comment or Assign.

Note: If a file reaches the maximum number of comments, you can make a copy of the file without copying over any comments.

Open the Comment box and enter text, with the option to assign a task to someone


Share a file or folder with specific people:

  1. Select the file you want to share.
  2. Click Share or Share "".
  3. Under Share with people and groups, enter the email address you want to share with.

    Note: If visitor sharing is on for your organization, you can invite someone who doesn't have a Google Account to collaborate on your Google Drive files and folders. See Share documents with visitors.

  4. To change what people can do to your file, on the right, click the Down arrow ""and then Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.
  5. Choose to notify people:
    • If you want to notify people that you shared a file with them, check the Notify people box. If you notify people, each email address you enter will be included in the email.
    • If you don't want to notify people, uncheck the Notify people box.
  6. Click Share or Send.


Share a link to a file or folder:

  1. In Drive, right-click the file or folder you want to share and select Share Share.

    In Docs, Sheets, or Slides, at the top, click Share.

    Note: You can only share files that you own or have edit access to.

  2. (Optional) To specify what people can do with your file when you share it, under your organization name, click Change:
    • To change the permission, at right, click the Down arrow "" and select Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.
    • To allow sharing the link outside of your organization, next to your organization name, click the Down arrow ""and thenPublic.

      Note: If you don't see this option, contact your administrator.

  3. Click Copy link.
  4. Click Done.
  5. Paste the link in an email, on a website, or wherever you need to share it.

Share files in Drive

2.4 Explain who's taking on your work

After you establish who you need to contact, compose an email or send a message to stakeholders.

1 Open Gmail.
2 On the left, click Compose "". You might see Compose "" instead.
3 (Optional) To change your window size, in the upper corner, click Maximize "" or Exit full screen Exit full-screen.
4 Add recipients and a subject.
5 Enter your message. Email you start writing but don't send are automatically saved in Drafts on the left.
6 (Optional) Add attachments, such as Drive files Insert file using Drive or photos Insert image.
7 Click Send.

Tip: To cancel sending an email, at the bottom of the window, click Undo. This option appears briefly, but you can change how long it lasts. See Undo sending your mail.

Map of where in inbox and email to click to do numbered steps 1 through 7 above

""3  Keep track of work

3.1 Check in on work while you're away

While you’re away, you might need to check in occasionally by email or a direct message (DM) to see how projects are progressing.

1 Open Gmail.
2 On the left, click Compose "". You might see Compose "" instead.
3 (Optional) To change your window size, in the upper corner, click Maximize "" or Exit full screen Exit full-screen.
4 Add recipients and a subject.
5 Enter your message. Email you start writing but don't send are automatically saved in Drafts on the left.
6 (Optional) Add attachments, such as Drive files Insert file using Drive or photos Insert image.
7 Click Send.

Tip: To cancel sending an email, at the bottom of the window, click Undo. This option appears briefly, but you can change how long it lasts. See Undo sending your mail.

Map of where in inbox and email to click to do numbered steps 1 through 7 above

Send a direct message to someone:

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. If the name isn’t already under "Chat," click Start a chat "".
  3. Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text.
    • To send a 1:1 message to someone outside of your organization, enter their email address.
  4. Click the person you want to message.
  5. Enter a message, then click Send "".


Start a group conversation:

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. Under "Chat," click on an existing group conversation, enter a message and then click Send "".
  3. If the group conversation isn’t under "Chat,” click Start a chat ""and then Start group conversation.
  4. Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text.
  5. Click Done "".
  6. Enter a message, then click Send "".

Message a group

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