Vacation Preparedness at Work

Are you ready to leave work behind and relax during your vacation? The best insurance for that peace of mind is to prepare!

Schedule that time away as soon as you can; if the personal arrangements are fixed or flexible get on the company vacation schedule as soon as reasonable to get the schedule you would prefer. You will want to be considerate of others as you expect them to support your time away as you will have to support their vacation time.

  • Some industries or companies have ‘natural’ time that is slow for business and that might be the time your company requires you to take your vacation time – learn what those dates are.
  • There are school schedules to consider as your colleagues may have specific dates they can utilize if taking children on vacation. This is also tricky if a school district has a mix of traditional and year-round schools.

Whether your job is at a desk, in a vehicle, at a workbench or on the phone all day….
Your daily work processes need to be documented and your colleagues are aware of the document, if they are not trained to do your job.

The documentation needs to include:

  • The steps of your job – flow charts or pictures of each step would be nice. How to document that the job is done or who to report ‘job complete’ is essential.
  • Any project dates that your substitute needs to be aware of such as conference calls or completion percentage put in a database.
  • Who your contacts or vendors are that help you get your job done - examples of when or why you would contact them would be helpful.
  • Where you get your supplies or inventory – is there a checkout process, who needs to know you just grabbed the last of the items, how do you verify the supplies are of the best quality & who to advise if they are not best quality?
  • Safety information: first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc. That paper cut or staple hole will bleed all over the place if you don’t get a band aid on it quick!
  • Who your immediate supervisor is and contact information.
  • Who is also trained (or cross-trained) to do your job.

** There is always a debate about leaving your contact information ‘in case’ someone needs to get in touch; that might be a phone call or schedule to check your email. Be sure to know these cultural requirements before you plan your vacation and for your traveling companions to know as well & respect that element of the vacation. For example, being in an electronic dead zone for 5 days might not be helpful if you have a requirement to be ‘in touch’ every 48 hrs. **

When you return, be humble about your time away. Don’t bring in the 3 DVDs of the island time or your grandchildren’s music recitals. One or two pictures in your work area will either be sufficient or give cause for a follow on conversation, if someone is interested.

Then get back to work:

  • find out what went right
  • what did not
  • And what the status is today

One organization I was with had a ‘vacation recap’ coffee session with treats provided by the person doing the report – that usually kept the monologue short and sweet! Then we did a reverse status update for the rested and relaxed colleague to jump right back into the work day.

AND then start planning for the next vacation!

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