Bon voyage! As winter begins to drag on into its final months, it’s time for a much-needed vacation. You deserve it: hard workers owe it to themselves to go on vacation in order to prevent overworking and burning out. But don’t just drop everything and head south – be respectful to colleagues and clients by taking care of business before going on vacation. Checking off the tasks on the to-do list outlined here will ensure an easy transition for leaving the office. Of course, we can’t prevent piled-up emails on your first day back – but hopefully these preparations will make for a smooth return as well!
Give enough notice to bosses, colleagues and other important contacts before leaving.
Especially if you are working on a collaborative project or deal, make sure no one is caught off guard by announcing your departure one day before you head out. If is a lengthy trip, mention your vacation a couple weeks before it starts so that your colleagues can plan their schedules and meetings accordingly – and will know what projects to finish with you before you go.
Set an email auto-reply and record your voicemail to inform callers about your absence.
Without doing so, contacts will wonder why you are not returning messages and may perceive it as rude or unprofessional. In your email reply, consider adding a colleague’s contact information for urgent matters. Of course, be sure to ask permission from this colleague before using them as a reference.
If someone will cover your duties while you are away, provide detailed instructions.
Don’t leave a colleague high and dry if they are willing to step in and cover your responsibilities while you are enjoying yourself on the beach. Schedule a meeting to describe exactly what tasks you will transfer to them and to discuss any background information. When applicable, write up a detailed handbook or how-to guide, including any necessary backup contacts.
Wrap up tasks before you go.
Don’t leave a list of to-do’s to finish on your first day back. Excluding larger ongoing projects, ideally you should take care of what you can in a timely fashion and not leave co-workers in the middle of a collaborative task. You’ll thank yourself for this one as well: your stress level will only increase if you anticipate going back to the office with a daunting list of duties awaiting you.
Clean up your workspace.
A messy desk will be an eyesore to colleagues while you’re away, but most likely they will not feel comfortable tidying up someone else’s property. Spare them any awkwardness or irritation by setting aside half an hour to clean on your last day before vacation.
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