There are a few great ways that you can prepare for your time off, including working ahead, setting up an auto-response email, asking team members to help you out, and scheduling meetings thoughtfully around your time off.
Here are some actions you can take:
Work ahead – If you know you’re going to be out of the office for a week, or even a day, work to get ahead of schedule. We all have tasks we can complete ahead of time. Anything that can be scheduled or that you already have all the information to complete, go ahead, get it done and out of the way! Working ahead may seem overwhelming while you’re doing it, but you’ll thank yourself later when you’re not stressing out on the beach.
Set up an auto-response email – Always set up an auto-response email when you are going to be out of the office, even if only for one day. This is essential for two reasons. First, even though you are out of the office, your customers, clients, and coworkers are still working, and you don’t want them wondering why you never returned their email. The second reason to set up an auto-response email to help manage your own inbox while you are out. Once someone gets your auto-response message and they know you are out, they will most likely only email you with important items. This means less emails for you to catch up on when you return. Make sure to include an emergency contact in your auto-response email just in case something really goes wrong while you are out of the office. You can give the number to a coworker that had agreed to handle emergencies while you are out, or put your cell phone in the email if you will be able to respond while on vacation.
Ask team members to help you out – One of the best features of being on a team is that you have people to help you when you need it. For tasks that you cannot complete ahead of time, ask team members or coworkers to help you out with them. For example, if you do a report that cannot be done until a certain day because information is not available until that day, ask a team member to do it for you while you are out. Remember, this is a two-way street; you will be asked to cover for team members too, and if you help when they need it, they will be more willing to help when you need it.
Schedule meetings thoughtfully – You will most likely know well ahead of time that you are planning to take off, so schedule meetings, webinars, conference calls, and events accordingly. If you can help it, try not to schedule anything the day before you will be out for vacation and the day you return to the office. Not scheduling anything the day before you leave will give you a chance to really get all your work in order and organized before you are out. Not scheduling anything for your first day back at the office will give you a chance to get caught up and deal with the most important things that occurred while you were out.
If you follow this advice for preparing to be out of the office for a summer vacation or holiday weekend, you will have a much more enjoyable time. Instead of thinking about work and worrying about what you didn’t get done, you will be thinking about what you’re going to wear to the beach and what you’re having for dinner! Preparation is the key!
Meet our Author!
Jennifer attended West Virginia University and earned both a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. She began working for a group of several colleges before graduating with her Master’s. In this role, Jennifer helped manage all marketing activities for the colleges. This included more traditional marketing like TV and radio, and also modern marketing like social media and digital ad campaigns. Jennifer learned how to create high-level strategies and operational tactics. Jennifer believes marketing is both an art and a science, because it takes an artist to create and a scientist to measure the results. Jennifer is super excited to be in her current role as Senior Social Strategist at Sutherland! When not working, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her two boys, Harlen and Carter. Playing outside, swimming and basketball are some of their favorite things to do! She also enjoys reading about all things science and technology!