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Planning a vacation or some time off? You may even have a vacation already planned and approved by your supervisor. While it may be approved, there’s more that you should consider doing before you escape the office, so you enjoy your time away and can come back stress-free.

Let EVERYONE Know

You’ve told your boss, but now it’s time to let everyone else know. No one likes to come back to work with an over-flowing email inbox and a maxed-out voicemail. You want to make sure that your colleagues and your clients know that you will be out-of-the-office, so they aren’t trying to contact you while you’re away. Give them specific details of when you are leaving and when you will be back.

Make a Checklist

You should actually make a couple. Create your “to do before leaving” list. Include everything that you need to accomplish, so you can come back without unfinished projects. Develop a checklist of what you need to do when you get back. Planning your departure from the office and planning what you need to do when you return will help you leave and return without the added stress.

Identify Trusted Colleagues

This tip is especially important for those whose job never stops. When going on a vacation it’s important for not only your mental health, but for your productivity when you return to completely disconnect as much as you can during your time off. For this reason, you need to find colleagues that could serve as your backup and are trusted to do your job when plans shift. For example, if your client has an emergency that require your services immediately, they can contact your trusted colleague to get the job completed.

Update Out-of-Office Autoreply Email & Voicemail

Set up your out-of-office email. This email should explain that you are out-of-the-office with either no or limited access to your email. Include the dates of when you are leaving and when you will return. This is also a great place to include the contact information of your trusted colleague(s) if they require immediate assistance (email address and phone number).

You should also change your voicemail to explain that you are out-of-the office and won’t be able to access your voicemail until the date you return. You should also give them the phone number of your trusted colleague(s) for immediate assistance.

Set Boundaries & Check-In Times

Sometimes you can’t always completely disconnect from work when you’re on vacation. However, you should definitely try to give yourself a break. Give your colleagues, employees, and supervisors a list of “check-in” times that you plan to read your email during your time-off. If someone needs to get a hold of you, they can email you and expect to hear from you around those times. This way, you aren’t plugged in 24/7.

Do Double-Duty

When you’re preparing to go on vacation, you might not be able to get everything completed during your normal work hours. It might behoove you to spend a little extra time beyond your normal hours to get everything done. This way, you can come back feeling refreshed rather than rushing to work on unfinished projects.

Bring Your Boss Up to Speed

Make sure you go over your game plan with your boss. You want to keep your supervisor informed of where your responsibilities will be handed off to, any projects being taken care of, and even your plan for checking in during your vacation.

Get Over the Guilt

We all feel a little guilty going on vacation and leaving work. Remember, you are allotted the time off for a reason. Vacation time not only helps you to do the things you want/need outside of work, but it also benefits you mentally and allows you to come back to work refreshed and more productive.


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