Mangement For Design

Winter Release

10 Steps to Finally Have a Work Free Holiday

With today’s technology it is difficult to take a real vacation with no time spent answering emails and dodging calls. Many people are becoming reluctant to take time off because it is not much of a break when you are constantly checking your phone and locating the closest Wi-Fi source at your holiday destination, not to mention the pile of work that will still be there when you return. Use this checklist for less stress either side of your vacation to achieve a well-deserved work-free break.


1. Delegate
Make a list of everything that will need to be completed before or during your vacation. This includes meetings, ongoing tasks and daily operational work.

2. Prioritise
Figure out which tasks are essential to get done before leaving. Prioritise these tasks by importance, deadline and length of project. You should also decide whether the task is a priority for you to get done before you go away or if it can be delegated. Can the work be done without you?

3. Review and add to your employees’ work backlog
To ensure your team’s productivity and avoid getting emails, create a backlog of work. This backlog of work should not only include the tasks that need to get done but also the context and tools that may be needed to complete the tasks.

4. Who’s in charge while you’re away?
Identify someone who you trust to make decisions in your absence and leave them your contact information in case of emergency. Make sure you define what a ‘real emergency’ is so you’re not hassled unnecessarily.

5. Meet individually with team members to review plans for the time you’ll be gone
Before you leave you need to ensure each team member understands the above steps, that they know what extra work they may have to take on, what to do with potential spare time and who to go to if they have questions or concerns.

6. Send a context email to your team
Send your team a group email with all the details they will need while you are away. This includes who your delegates are, exact dates you are away, who is responsible for what, etc. This will ensure all members of your team are on the same page and will give everyone a point of reference.

7. Review your plan with any additional departments, outside contractors or teams
Ensure you have asked everyone what they need from you before you leave, especially if you work with other businesses or work closely with your clients.

8. Plan a meeting when you return
Set a meeting for your team leaders and delegates to debrief you on things that happened while you were away. You can also take this opportunity to improve your systems by getting your team to look at what the learned while you were away, how they handled unexpected situations, what went well and what didn’t go so well.

9. Set your out-of-office message
You should set your out-of-office notification to start one day before you leave and one day after you get back to give yourself a buffer. In your message you should tell people that you will not be responding to messages during your absence, but will respond to them as soon as you return.

10. Unplug
Make sure you log out of all work-related apps and turn off all work-related notifications until you return to the office.


Have a great break!

Credit: thanks to eMyth for inspiring this article. You can download the original article along with an out-of-office email template here: business-vacation-checklist.

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