Stepping away from your desk for a vacation is a pleasure, but the days leading up to your leave is precisely the opposite. With rushed timelines, overdue tasks, and last-minute meetings, it’s a good thing you have a few days off to recover from all that stress. But, going out of office doesn’t have to be stressful.
Spend the week before you leave to prioritize your workload and prep your team smartly. Here’s a quick out of office checklist to help you tick off your crucial tasks before leaving for your vacation.
The only out of office checklist you need
1. Inform your team in advance
If you’ve planned your vacation early on, you can let your team know about your leave days two weeks in advance. Most companies use leave tracking tools like AttendanceBot to enable employees to inform the team about any leaves that members are taking and for how long.
This allows team members to reschedule meetings and tasks that were intended for the days you would be on leave, letting them send you any work requirements they have from you ahead of time. Simply put, it helps in better shift management to ensure you being out of the office, doesn’t impact the progress of the team.
Here are a few commands to make it easier to inform your team of the leave you’re taking: Apply/ Delete a leave
2. Set up a calendar event on your personal calendar to block your leave days
To avoid your team members from scheduling meetings or calls during your out of office days, you can block your leave days on your calendar. This way, even if one of your team members forgets about your leave and plans to schedule a meeting, they will see your blocked calendar and plan the meeting accordingly.
This is especially important when managing remote teams. Distributed teams often find it challenging to keep track of each other’s schedule.
3. Get overdue tasks out of the way
Your top priority on your out of office checklist is clearing any pending work. Finish up any pending tasks and schedule or send across the completed work. Ideally, complete tasks assigned by other team members so that there is no dependency on you.
An excellent work planning tool that you can use to clear your tasks is the Eisenhower Matrix. This lets you prioritize, delegate, or get rid of tasks that are already on your plate. By understanding your most urgent and essential tasks, you can put those on the top of your to-do list. The rest of the tasks can be reassigned your team members, scheduled for a later day, or eliminated entirely.
4. Reassign projects and brief team members who are covering you
Set up quick 15 minute meetings with team members who are covering different tasks and projects for you while you are out of office. These meetings would consist of handing over the task, giving them a quick run-down of what has been done, what needs to be done and any challenges you faced or the team member may face. Bonus points if you provide your team members with a manual!
If you use work planning tools like Asana or Trello, tag them as ‘out of office’ and reassign them to team members who are covering your workload. Your team members can update these tasks as they make progress. This lets you come back to the office and check on your tasks without requiring a debrief from every team member.
For example, the marketing team can use Trello to line up their tasks. They can also stay on top of each other’s activities to track progress. Read how.
5. Make it easier for everyone in your team with documentation
No one likes receiving a work call while on vacation. While you may be the point person for particular projects or tasks at your workplace, ensure you’ve prepared your team members to tackle anything that comes up while you’re out of office. The best way to make your team less dependent on you is by documenting your work.
From basic processes, passwords, and routine tasks to common questions and problem-solving, set up an all-you-need-to-know manual for your team members to equip them to handle your tasks with ease. Use work planning tools like Notion to create simple documents.
However, documentation isn’t necessarily a task for your out of office checklist. As a rule of thumb, every team member should document the work that they do so that any team member can seamlessly pick up the work without needing an hour-long meeting. Documentation also ensures that the organization’s workflow isn’t disturbed even if someone on the team has to take leave.
This is also important incase you’re managing remote teams.
Also read: How to create your best weekly sprints
6. Create redirects for team members dependent on you
Do you have any routine systems set up with team members? Every team functions as a network so, when you are away from work, you must be mindful of the systems in place and set up redirects before your leave days. While you may be indispensable to the team, ensure that a few days of leave doesn’t wreck the well-structured workflow in place.
For instance, if you are the go-to person for providing feedback and suggestions for content that is churned out weekly, ensure that you assign this role to another team member. But make sure they are qualified to take your place. This ensures that the content team doesn’t run into any blockers.
7. Set up an automated email response
You don’t want to leave people emailing you without a response for days. These emails may be clients or work-related partnership or opportunities. This is why it’s always good courtesy to set up an automated email response for the days that you are out of office.
Set up an automated email response within your email provider, letting people know that you are away for a certain number of days and that you will get back to them once you are back in the office.
8. Set your ‘Away’ status and snooze your notifications
Finally, before you log off, put your work on snooze— from your Slack channels to your task boards. Since you’ve successfully completed your out of office checklist, you can log off without worrying about pending work. Send a final reminder to your Slack channels about your leave and set your status as ‘Away’.
Is your team prepared for your out of office days?
With this out-of-office checklist, you’re sure to be ready to leave the office without any pending work. Be more mindful of the work on your plate. Delegate the tasks by creating proper briefs for your team members.
A little bit of planning and you can successfully spend your time out of the office. Without any worries about delays. This is how you prioritize your workload and prep your team when you’re away.
Want to keep your team informed about upcoming leaves?