A question about some phrases using "office":

  1. out of office
  2. out of the office
  3. outside the office

Do they mean the same thing?

  • No, they don’t. They are used in different contexts to mean different things. Is there a specific context or meaning you are interested in? Sep 10, 2014 at 18:43

5 Answers 5

  • Out of the office: This means "on vacation". Example:

    I will be out of the office until January 2. Please leave me a voicemail.

  • Outside the office: This refers to an area just outside the room. Example:

    A long queue formed outside the office after the computer system became unresponsive.

    By extension, it might also be used metaphorically to mean "while not at work":

    John only shows his sense of humour outside the office.

  • Out of office: This is a completely different meaning of office: an elected or appointed government position.

    After a series of unpopular decisions, the entire board of education was voted out of office.


out of office

doesn't make sense by itself. Since you are referring to specific office that is countable, an article is needed, as in example 2. It works with uncountable nouns though, for example:

I am out of coffee.


out of the office

This is normally used, as in:

I am out of the office until Friday.

Basically you are away from your workplace.
And finally

outside the office

This refers to a physical location in relation to the office, as in:

There is parking outside the office.

You could use outside of here with basically the same meaning.

  • 3
    Out of office is used in speaking of former officeholders: "George W. Bush has been out of office for almost six years now." Jul 12, 2014 at 1:41
  • However, the current business speak uses "Out of Office" (OOO) for announcing one's temporary absence from work: "I'll be OOO Thursday, back Friday."
    – Jim
    Jul 12, 2014 at 5:21
  • In "out of office" as used by @StoneyB, this refers to a position or job title (in this example President of the US), while your examples as I read them refer to the physical office (the building that you work in). Additional detail of the meaning you are thinking of in your question would be helpful.
    – user3169
    Jul 12, 2014 at 5:24
  • @StoneyB Is "in the office" the correct opposite of "out of the office" or "outside the office" or both?
    – meatie
    Jul 12, 2014 at 6:09
  • 1
    Although, I tend to reserve "out of the office" for absences from the workplace. If I fielded a phone call for someone who was merely on a smoke break, and the caller asked if they were out of the office, my reply would be, "no, they're here, they're just away from their desk, try calling back in 15 minutes."
    – Jim
    Jul 12, 2014 at 13:12

Out of office/Out of the office - Usually used as a communication in office mails to say that the person is away. For ex. I am out of office till Monday. I’ll address your query when I’m back.

Outside the office means that the person is just near the entrance or in the vicinity


Out of Office - More common in emails, when I send out company newsletters we get autoreplies saying 'out of office back dd/mm'

Out of the office - again used in emails, more of a formal thing but is more grammatically correct

Outside the office - Usually means when the physical being is only outside teh front door, no more than 6 foot away.

  • I'd disagree that "outside the office" only means "nearby" or has any associated distance. To me it could also refer to anything not at work - "your activities outside the office are your business." or "The boss got in trouble for seeing his secretary outside the office."
    – mc01
    Sep 10, 2014 at 17:19

No doesn't mean the same thing. To be out of the office and to be outside the office means two totally different things.

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