Everything You Need To Do At Work Before You Take A Vacation
The fateful day is almost here: After months of slogging away without a break, you're shutting down your laptop, stepping away from your desk, and slamming your office (or, as it may be, bedroom) door behind you. It's vacation time, baby!
But hold up just one second. If you fail to get all of your ducks in a row before jetting off, you're likely to receive an interruptive text or call with the potential to kill your time-off vibe. And although we can't guarantee your colleagues, boss, and clients will leave you alone if you take care of these seven action items, the odds are in your favor.
Hear me out: time off but without the panic leading up to it bc you have to get all your work done in advance, and… https://t.co/dkzBhv7IZB— Sara Levine (@Sara Levine)1623777966.0
1. Inform Your Stakeholders
You've gotten permission from your boss to take time off, but don't assume that the information has traveled to the rest of your team, other departments with which you work, or your clients. It's best that they don't find out the news from your out-of-office reply while you're on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, so make it a point to give everyone a heads up about one week before you leave.
2. Provide Status Updates
When you first connect with those whom your absence may affect, assure them that you'll follow up with where you stand on any projects that concern them. We find it's best to send these customized messages about 48 hours before your vacation. That way, you're providing up-to-date information while also leaving enough time to answer the questions that will inevitably arise.
3. Determine Your Coverage
You can't expect, nor would you want forward momentum to stop on your projects while you're out of the office. Determine the best colleague or colleagues to field any questions that may arise, and connect with them one-on-one to ask them to be your point people. We guarantee they'll appreciate not finding out they're your go-to when someone else emails them based on your autoreply.
My boss has a better out of office message than your boss #existentialthreat
4. Put On An OOO
Speaking of auto-replies, you're going to need an out-of-office message to explain why you aren't replying *just like that*. You can keep it basic with information about when you'll be returning and who to reach out to with questions, but please, please make sure you get your dates right. We've all gotten a message saying someone will return on January 5th in April, and it's cringe.
5. Don't Forget About Slack
If your company uses a messenger platform like Slack, chances are that you communicate there as much as you do via email. Most applications let you set a status and silence notifications, which will explain to those reaching out why they aren't hearing back from you.
6. Share Your Contact Information (Carefully!)
We tend to advise against dropping your personal number in your out-of-office, because what some people think is a text-worthy emergency leaves much to be desired. Instead, provide instructions to text, call, or email you at your personal address to just the handful of trusted colleagues who are covering for you. If, for instance, you know you'll be totally unreachable on a certain day, tell them that, too.
7. Settle On A Catch-up Plan
Ain't no Sunday scaries like post-vacation Sunday scaries. Save yourself from a hellish first day at the (perhaps virtual) office by setting expectations for how and when you'll get back up to speed. Depending on your work style and company culture, this might mean setting up a series of 15-minute status meetings, asking those covering for you to email you written summaries the day before your return, or ensuring project management systems are up to date with all relevant information.
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