TGWO – that means “thank God winter’s over”! If you are like me, you’ve waited all year and the time has finally come for a well-deserved vacation. Whether heading to the beach or mountains, flying to foreign lands, or planning a “staycation” by puttering in the garden or exploring your hometown, your vacation is something to be eagerly anticipated and enjoyed.
I had a “sweet dream” last night; I simply walk out of the office, turn on my “out-of-office” assistant in Outlook, turn off the email, and I was on my way! I woke up and knew that was a dream. The reality is that vacation requires some preparation and work which, when done correctly and responsibly, will enable you to leave with a clear mind and return to some semblance of sanity as well.
Here are some helpful suggestions on how to plan for your vacation:
Inform your clients.
There are few things worse than having a client call you with a question only to discover you are away on vacation. It doesn’t matter if you have someone “covering your work” (more on that later) or your auto-reply says you’ll be back in two weeks. Clients should be alerted to your impending vacation well before your departure date. Barring any unforeseen emergencies, this information will also help your staff so they don’t have to put out any fires for which they are potentially unprepared to handle.
Complete everything that is due before you leave and get a “head start” on what is scheduled for your return.
You already know when you return you’ll be playing “catch up” on the work that had piled up while you were on vacation. Attempt to complete everything on your desk before you leave, and if at all possible, anticipate and begin to work on the projects that will be due shortly upon your return. Managing this workload will give you more time to get re-acclimated and you’ll be able to handle the backlog more effectively.
Assign a point person; update and train them on the work that may have to be handled in your absence.
Technology has made it incredibly easy to stay connected, but vacation is still the time to relax and recharge. Receiving calls from stressed out employees trying to execute specific tasks you may have left behind, is a sure way to ruin a great vacation. Take the time before you go to provide the appropriate employees with information and training on anything they might have to execute. A call to you should be their last resort!
Clean up your work environment.
Leave your office and desk in tip-top shape. Put away files and papers and make sure your technology is backed up and turned off. Returning to the office can be difficult enough; returning to an untidy work environment can be discouraging and will require excess time trying to locate things you left behind. Time is the one thing you don’t have enough of when you return from a vacation.
Set up your vacation message on your email accounts and voice mail.
Though you will inform your clients about your vacation, you will likely receive emails and calls from people that have not been informed of your plans. The auto-reply message will ensure they have the information and will be able to reconnect when you return.
No one covering?
It happens to many business owners. I take my Tablet with me and review my emails 2 – 3 times per week. If I see an email that must be answered, I will, however that is the exception, not the rule. Delete the junk mail so you don’t have to see it when you get back!
It’s never too soon to start thinking about that much-needed vacation. And it’s much more than who will take care of the animals, take in your mail and water your plants. A little extra planning done well in advance can remove any stress associated with going away as well as minimize anxiety when you return.
Taken from the May 2015 Unique Business Solutions Newsletter