With vacation season upon us, most of us have plans for at least a little time away from the office. For those in leadership positions, taking personal time requires preparation. There’s more to do than just packing your bags and turning on the out-of-office on your email. You have a lot of responsibilities and duties on your plate. In order to truly relax, you have to ensure that they are handled properly in your absence.
Here are some tips to help you get everything lined up and organized before you hit the road:
Start preparations early.
Get your vacation on the books as soon as possible. Let colleagues and staff know that you’ll be unavailable for meetings and projects during that period. If your vacation requires finding dedicated coverage for your job, make those arrangements early.
Assign tasks and projects ahead of time. Also, be sure that those who are taking on extra duties are fully up to speed and have what they need to handle the tasks. Update the entire team as to who is in charge of which projects. This will limit questions and prevent power struggles while you’re away.
Similarly, inform any clients that you are working with directly of your vacation and who they should contact while you are away.
In the weeks leading up to your vacation, assess where you are on your task list. Decide what absolutely must happen before you leave and what can be put off until you return. With proper organizing and prioritizing, walking out the door at the end of the day before your vacation should be a carefree feeling.
Set boundaries for contact.
It will never feel like time off if you’re constantly responding to emails and taking business calls. Avoid spending your vacation attached to your phone by creating a specific plan of action for emergencies and questions while you’re away.
Designate a team member that you trust implicitly with your contact information and give them specific instructions about when to contact you. He or she will act as your gatekeeper. The rest of your staff can funnel major issues through this person, who will determine if contacting you is necessary.
Specifically state in your out-of-office reply who to contact in the case of urgent matters. Also, set your return date a day or two beyond your actual return in case of travel issues. This will also help manage expectations for responses upon your return.
Manage the first days following vacation carefully.
When scheduling new projects, meetings, and deadlines after your vacation, give yourself a few days’ grace before jumping back into things full force. You’ll need to acclimate to being at work again and get your bearings as you catch up on what went on while you were out.
By giving yourself ample time to sort through missed emails, put out any fires that may have popped up, and readjust your mindset back to work mode, you’ll be more productive and will feel less stressed upon your return.
Hope you enjoy some relaxing time off this summer! What do you do to prepare your team to handle things while you’re away?