We’re smack in the middle of summer – the time many of us are taking vacation, and hopefully, unplugging (because these days, the two don’t always go hand in hand). To make the most of your hard-earned time off, there are some things you simply must do before you check out of the office. Ensuring your bases are covered before you go away for a while is a sign of a great employee, and will give you the peace of mind to fully enjoy your time off.
First, prepare for any potential problems that may occur while you’re away. Provide clear instructions to your teammates about how to handle these problems, should they arise. For example, do you anticipate any particular client questions about a project they’ll be handed right before you leave? Make sure you have answers ready and in the hands of the person who is taking over for you.
Which brings us to the second thing you must do before you leave. Prep the people who’ll be covering for you. Don’t rely on them to remember everything you tell them verbally. Write a thorough list of instructions – not forgetting to include a thank you! The more prepared your co-workers are to handle your responsibilities while you’re gone, the fewer fires you’ll have to put out when you get back.
And speaking of handling your responsibilities – you want to make sure you complete as much of your work as possible in advance. If you can tie up lose ends before you take off, leaving your co-workers with nothing or very little to do on your behalf, that’s best. If it isn’t possible, at least choose a sensible stopping point, to avoid confusion.
Finally – keep your boss in the loop. Copy him, and ask your co-workers to do the same, on important communications involving worst-case scenario planning and work hand-off. He’ll see you’ve been proactive in ensuring that things go smoothly while you’re gone.
If you’ve taken care of these things, then turn off the handheld and truly unplug this summer – you’ve earned it.