Leaving the Office Behind – How to Prepare for Going on Vacation

beach scene with a hammock stretched between palm treesSummer has a way of begging us to get out from behind our desks and disconnect. For me, the sheer thought of some sunshine and temps in the 80s can instantly put me in a good mood. It’s no surprise then that I try to take full advantage of the warm months to cram in events, time with family, and a road trip or two. Isn’t that what summers are for?! Taking a few days out of the office and hitting your reset button can be beneficial for anyone, no matter what you do with your time off, but nothing snaps you back to reality faster than the thought of leaving your workload behind. How will everything get completed on time? What will happen if my clients have an emergency when I’m gone? At The BLU Group – Advertising and Marketing we follow a short check-list to help ensure that every client is taken care of and all project deadlines are met in the absence of a team member. Below are our 5 steps to follow when preparing for time out of the office.

  1. Let your clients know ahead of time – Touch base with your clients you have consistent contact with, one week before you leave. Let them know the dates you’ll be out, and see if they have anything that they’d like to work with you directly on prior to you leaving.
  2. Meet with your team – Schedule a meeting with your team a few days prior to you leaving. Go over the upcoming schedule of what’s in the pipeline and answer any questions they have, or touch base on anything that they need from you prior to you leaving. If they need something during the time frame of when you’ll be out, work with them to map-out how to adjust accordingly or determine who will handle the tasks in your absence.
  3. Create a to-do list – Passing the torch to another team member in your absence can be challenging. Be sure to pick someone who you know can complete your task proficiently and who has the time to do them. Create a list to outline project dates and tasks, along with your expectations. Think ahead to any road blocks they might hit, and plan ahead on how to overcome them.  
  4. Create an Out-of-Office message and update your voice mail – Create an out-of-office reply for your e-mail and update the voice mail on your phone to let everyone know you’ll be out and when you will be returning. If you don’t plan to check your e-mail or voice mail when you’re out, be sure to put that in your message. Also, include the name and contact information of the person who they can contact for assistance in your absence.
  5. Create a back-to-office list – Depending on how long you plan to be out, it can be difficult to get back in the swing of things. Create a list before you leave of where you should be on your projects when you get back, and include any to-do list items that will need to be completed right away when you return. This will give you an easier transition and help you be more productive on your first day back.

Preparing ahead of time for being out of the office, whether it be for an extended weekend or a long holiday, will help you better enjoy your time off and make your transition back to the office a smooth one. For tips on how to make your transition back to the office after your vacation, check out Liz’s blog post “Going Back to Work After Vacation“. What other tips do you have when preparing to take a few days off?