Developing Your Career

Developing Your Career

Reduce Vacation Stress: Four Steps to Take Before Leaving the Office

By Kristen Leverone on June 24, 2013

As summer approaches and vacation schedules become a reality, it’s a great time to take stock of how prepared you are to hand over the reins of your job to a co-worker or temporary worker while you’re away. In order to maintain seamless productivity, each of us needs to ask: Am I the only one in the department who knows how to do this? Will my absence have a negative impact on the work flow – or have I set up a process to prepare someone else to step into my role?

Here are four suggestions for covering the bases while you’re gone:

  • Put it in writing. Include instructions for completing routine tasks, along with processes, deadlines and contact names to cover contingencies and to keep things running smoothly. Review procedures periodically and update quarterly.
  • Share  information. Being the only employee in the department who knows how to handle a critical task or who holds key information is counterproductive. It’s your responsibility to make certain there’s adequate coverage – and doing so will ensure that you can truly unplug while you’re on vacation.
  • Notify colleagues. For those colleagues with whom you’re working directly, keep them informed prior to your leave so that project plans can be updated, immediate needs addressed and contingency plans put into place, like who will be covering for you in your absence. Set an auto-reply on your email that states your expected date of return and provides the name of someone who can be contacted in your absence.
  • Remember you’re part of a team. Embrace cross training within your team. This creates leverage within your team and allows you to take a real vacation.

Developing a plan for how work gets done while you’re away on vacation is critical to business operations. The better prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation without a lot of work interruptions or emergencies, truly recharge your batteries, and the less stress you’ll feel about what awaits you when you return.

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