Prepping Your Office For a Vacation or Leave of Absence

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How do you truly vacate on a vacation? Well, that’s pretty hard to do if you are sitting on a sandy beach asking yourself, “Did I follow-up with Barb on that vendor agreement?” or, “Did I forget to set an out of office email reply?”

Properly preparing your office for a vacation or leave of absence not only helps you relax while on vacation, it can help you avoid unnecessary stress upon your return. These six tips for preparing your office for your departure will help you say Bon Voyage in the most stress-free way possible.

Six Tips for Prepping Your Office For Vacation or Leave

Break Your Schedule Down. Before you leave, take a look at any scheduling conflicts, deadlines, appointments or meetings you might miss while you’re gone to see if your vacation or leave of absence is really doable. If your vacation dates are non-negotiable, make sure that you have rescheduled any priority meetings, or that you have a fill-in to attend any important meetings on your behalf. Then, touch base with your fill-in after your return. When looking at your schedule, don’t forget to look at the weeks prior to and following your vacation, so you don’t overload yourself before you leave or have to make a deadline just after your return. Finally, be sure to log your vacation dates in your shared calendar or on the office calendar so others can anticipate your absence as well.

Customize your voicemail and auto reply messages. Before you leave, be sure to change your auto reply on your email to make note of your absence and when you plan to return, as well as give callers a point of contact if needed after your departure. This prevents any angry or potentially challenging situations upon your return. The same goes for your voicemail, unless you choose to forward your calls to a coworker while you are gone. In that case, be sure to let your coworkers know of any pending items they may have to address or any anticipated phone calls.

Inform key vendors and high priority customers/contacts of your planned absence. It never hurts to mention that you will be out of the office to any high priority vendors or customers in the event they need something while you are gone.

Let your coworkers know your communication expectations. If you don’t want to be bothered on vacation, it is important to let your coworkers know that. Let them know when it is or is not okay to contact you, and how you prefer to be contacted if needed. Let them know if you plan on checking your email or voicemail while you are gone, and if you will be unreachable at any time during your trip.

Shutdown your computer. Be sure you don’t leave your computer vulnerable while out of the office, and shutdown or secure it as advised by your IT department. Same goes for voicemail and hard files.

Update. Prior to leaving, and upon your return, schedule a 20-30 minute debrief so everyone is aware of any pending projects or open items while you are gone. Upon your return, do the same so you can be in the know of anything that happened while you were out.

Trust your team. Realize that your team can function without you while you are gone if they are given the appropriate information ahead of time. This will allow you to truly relax and enjoy your vacation while also letting your team build credibility and trust with each other and you.

A couple of hours of prep means more time with your toes in the sand and your head in the clouds—just where it should be while on vacation!

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