How to Prepare for Your Vacation Away from Work

With summer just around the corner, everyone in the office is itching to grab their bags and head on vacation, but it’s important to hold onto your sandals before you dip out of the office and make sure that all loose ends are tied up tight so you can have a relaxing time away. There is nothing worse remembering that one email you forgot to send while lying on the beach. Here are four things you should do to prep the office before your next PTO adventure:

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1.Mark Your Calendars – The first step to planning PTO is to mark it on your shared calendar as well as your company out-of-office calendar. This is a crucial step as it lets coworkers prepare for your departure and it’s respectful of their time. Also make sure to check with supervisors and other colleagues about potential critical events or meetings, so that you don’t end up overlapping your vacation with a big presentation.

2.Work Ahead – It’s imperative in the days and weeks ahead that you mentally and physically prepare for taking time off. Set up touch-base meetings with colleagues, superiors or subordinates to go over project status and what may be needed while you’re away. Work on your own deadlines in advance so that you can fully relax while you’re gone and write out a list of weekly to-dos on multipurpose paper.

3.Set Auto-Replies – Set an alert to remind you to update your voicemail, email auto-replies and send a message to clients and colleagues to indicate when you will be out of the office. Customize an outgoing voicemail message to let callers know your availability, and set two different email auto-replies – one internally and one externally. The internal auto-reply can be as casual as your office sees fit, and the external auto-reply should express the exact dates you’ll be away, how you can be reached in case of an emergency and who can be reached in your absence.

4.Establish Your “Reachability” – Discuss with your coworkers how, when and if you will be available during your time off. Sometimes it’s necessary to have some online availability, and if this is the case, establish specific times and days you will be online. If not, find alternative contacts who can help get a job done without your presence. And while no one wants to bother you on your holiday, sometimes they don’t have the confidence to complete the task without your input. Give your employees the confidence to succeed by setting them up with all the necessary items and making it as easy as possible.

Now, it’s time to enjoy your time off! If you’ve completed all of these steps, it’s time to take full advantage of your time away from the office. Happy summer!