Prepare colleagues to survive without you

Prepare colleagues to survive without you

by Amy Beth Miller, editor, Communication Briefings

Allow yourself to leave any work stress behind when you go on vacation this year. Communicating early with these people will allow you to relax and not check in frequently:

  • Your boss. Formally request vacation time as early as possible, to avoid schedule conflicts and allow everyone to plan for your time off. Don’t expect the boss to remember, though. As you discuss assignments, remind the boss about your plan to be out of the office. Example: “I will be out June 4th through the 15th. This is the third project you have given me with a deadline of June 18. How would you like me to prioritize these assignments?”
  • Your team. Train your colleagues to handle virtually anything that might come up while you are away. Work together until all of you are confident that they will be able to handle the assignments when you are out. Don’t forget to delegate the “little things” that could pile up, such as email. Those items will take your colleagues only minutes to deal with and will keep you from having to check in during your vacation.
  • Your partners. Don’t forget to notify people outside your office, such as suppliers, that you will be unavailable. Tell them a few weeks in advance. That way, they can plan for your absence and get to know the people with whom they will be working in your absence.
  • Your customers. Give your clients confidence that they will be in good hands.Example: “I will be out the first two weeks in June, and I would like to introduce you to the person you will be working with in my absence. Joe has been with our organization for five years, and I have trained him to process your orders. The best way to reach him will be …”

Finally, remember to give specific instructions on your voice-mail greeting and email out-of-office reply for how to contact others in your absence. If possible, tell people that you will respond to messages a day later than your actual return to the office. That will give you time to catch up.

In our poll last month, readers split evenly about their vacation preferences. Half said they like to take their vacation in weeklong stretches, while the other half said they prefer to get away from work for a few days at a time.

No matter what your style, be sure to take that vacation. Men’s Fitness recently reported that women who take a vacation cut their risk of a heart attack in half, and men who take regular vacations are 32% less likely to have a heart attack and 21% less likely to die early.



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One Response to Prepare colleagues to survive without you

  1. Pingback: The Art of the Out of Office Reply | North Carolina Law Life

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