Have you ever dreaded a vacation? Not the vacation itself; for the most part we enjoy getting away and spending time with family, relaxing and seeing a different view. I'm talking about dreading what you will return to, after, your well earned vacation.
These 8 steps implemented before and after you return from that well earned vacation will bring you comfort as you relax. Now your return might not be so painful.
2 Weeks Before:
...you are going to have a fantastic vacation!
While thinking about your time away and before you get into vacation-mode, decide what tasks have due dates or, an expectation of progress, while your out.
Hopefully you already use your calendar planner through your normal "at work times", but if not this would be a great time to start using it. So get to writing down your tasks, projects and, progress expectations, titles and due dates. These will help keep in focus what needs to be handled before leaving.
Step 1. COMPLETE ESSENTIAL TASKS THAT ONLY YOU CAN DO
We all take vacations and it becomes necessary to back each other up.
Step 2. CHANGE YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE
Change your email signature by adding a line in red letters, stating your upcoming vacation with the dates of departure and return. You will be adding your auto-reply later.
1 Week Before:
...your doing great: This vacation will be awesome!
Continue working on your task's and projects. It might be time to close an open loop, or use this as a nudge to finalize a sale.
Step 3. SET SOMEONE UP TO ANSWER FOR YOU IN YOUR ABSENCE AND SET EXPECTATIONS
This might be a position of honor; for best results, ask permission. You will need to discuss with them any special outcomes you expect; with a certain client or project. Make this a two way discussion so there is clarity. Include lessons learned within your role.
2 Days Before:
Step 4. SCHEDULE A CATCH-UP DAY WHEN YOU RETURN
Not only will you need to reply to emails and catch up on things that might have changed, but during this catch-up day, you will need to check those tasks that are coming due.
Step 5. SEND REMINDAR EMAILS TO TEAM
Send reminder email couple days before to team members and possibly supervisor reminding them of your vacation and return date.
Now you can include your catch-up day in the auto-reply by adding that extra day.
Even though phone calls happen less these days, it would be a good practice to set up a voicemail to announce your return date.
The Night Before:
...I can already smell that sandy beach!
Step 6. FINALLY SET UP YOUR AUTO-REPLIES
"I WILL BE OUT OF THE OFFICE FROM July 23 - Aug 4, BUT WANTED TO ASSURE YOU THAT i HAVE HANDED OFF ALL IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO ___________ WHILE I'M AWAY.
SHOULD YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR NEED ANYTHING DURING THIS TIME, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT __________ AND THEY WILL DO THEY'RE BEST TO ASSIST YOU.
ANY CORRESPONDENCE EMAIL OR PHONE CALLS SENT MY WAY WILL BE RESPONDED TO WITHIN 2-3 DAYS OF MY RETURN."
Example: Voicemail Standard.
"HI, THIS IS STEVE, IT'S GREAT YOU CALLED, LEAVE A MESSAGE... I AM COMMITTED TO RETURNING YOUR CALL WITHIN 24 HOURS"
Example: Voicemail Vacation.
"HI, THIS IS STEVE, I'M ON VACATION MONDAY NOV 23, THROUGH WEDNESDAY NOV 25, RETURNING OCTOBER 21"
Step 7. BRING YOUR RITUALS WITH YOU
As we are mindful of rituals and habits during our work time with our job and career, many of these rituals keep us grounded. Our vacation doesn't change our values, it could actually enhance them.
***GO ENJOY YOUR VACATION***
Step 8. UPON YOUR SWEET RETURN
Send notification to your team upon return, letting them know how awesome your vacation was. Thank them for supporting the business and carrying a heavier load while you were out. Also inquire about any new developments while you were gone and discuss any After Action Reviews that are necessary to change an existing system or process for the future.
After your recovery catch-up day, remove your "out-of-office" auto-reply and set your signature back to normal. removing the red notice, informing of your vacation dates.
Now you can get back to solving all of life's challenges and being a creative individual, all while feeling refreshed.