It’s almost towards the end of the year and yet you still have a lot of annual leave to clear and you are feeling exhausted, what’s better than taking a long break for yourself? It’s time for you to reward yourself for all those deadlines you have met, all those targets that you have hit and all those expectations that you have surpassed.
Before you go on a break, there are things to prepare for so that you can leave in peace. Well, you don’t want your boss frantically calling you every night about some file he can’t seem to find or some report he needs to have while you are half way around the world. Do your homework and you will never fear of disturbance while you are sunbathing in your bikini by the hotel’s pool with an ice cold beer.
1. Grab a coverer
Or you may call him or her the covering officer. The most important thing is to find a good coverer, someone who is experienced in your duties, responsible, initiative and trustworthy. Don’t have one? Go to your boss and insist he assign someone to you. Even the worst one is better than having none (just that you need to put in extra guard on not letting him mess up your work when you comes back).
2. Make a List
List down instructions and email to your coverer copied in your boss and anyone who is involved in your daily tasks. Make sure everyone including your clients know that You Are Away! And direct all those enquiries to the coverer or your boss.
Out Of Office email notification. Depending on what email server you are using, have it turned on by your IT guy or opt in auto forwarding to your coverer. Have it set one day after too. If you’re away from 1 October to 5 October, set it until 6 October. Make sure your colleague do a test email for you and he can see the auto response or your coverer can receive the auto forwarding one day before you leave for your break.
4. Be Clear
Make known specifically that you are away and not to be disturb even if the world crashes. You probably hear it on the news if the world crashes anyways. Put in your OOO email that you have limited or zero internet access on your devices. Make it clear to your boss you are not lugging your work laptop half way around the world. If he insist, let him know you will not cover any losses and damage to the laptop (usually it works and he’ll not allow you to bring your laptop out). Don’t leave an emergency number with your coverer or your OOO notification. There is no emergency your boss can’t handle. He is paid to be your boss, remember that. And like I said, if the world crashes, there is nothing you can do anyways.
Do make sure any tasks that you are following up on, complete them or hand over to your coverer or unfollow them by letting the key person in charge of that task know that you are away. You can pick up where you left off after you are back.
6. Set aside a time each day
I know it’s hard to ignore those messages and emails that kept popping up on your mobile phone when you are on a holiday. If you have done the above steps correctly, you can be assured that whatever is sent to you is probably being taken care of by your coverer or your boss. However, what you can do is to set aside each day, let’s say at night for an hour, just to go through your messages and emails BUT the only action you will do is to highlight those you want to follow up when you are back to work and trash those unimportant ones. I usually will marked those I want to follow up as ‘Unread’ and ‘read’ those whom I felt its tangible to give it a miss. Don’t start acting on the emails, you’ll make your coverer confused what emails you’ve answered and what emails he needs to follow up on. Plus if you are answering most of your emails then the above steps taken are redundant and you are setting a bad precedent that you can work while you are on a holiday (we don’t want our bosses to abuse that, do we?). So just read and highlight, nothing else.
7. Do yourself a favor
Focus your time and attention towards fully enjoying your break. If you are with your loved ones, give them your all just like you would towards your job. Go all out and have a full vacation and not “daddy is always missing” vacation.
8. Leave a day for yourself
When you’re back to work, don’t just dive into work. Eased yourself into it otherwise waves of guilt and stress will be coming back removing all the goodness a vacation have brought you. One secret tip? If I am coming back on a Monday, I make sure I am schedule free, meaning that I will do what I can to push back meetings to Tuesday and Wednesday and make that day all about catching up with my coverer (make sure you get that dude a gift even if it’s a souvenir magnet) and my boss (yes, while you are at it, give him a souvenir gift too) – people like to think you thought of them when you’re away on a holiday. Use that day to clear and reply all your emails. Unless to say “Hi, I’ve missed you around.”, no one should try to engage you. You’ll have plenty of time to get back to your regular rhythm the next day. Today is just about getting your momentum back.
Got more secret tips to share? Come and share it with us below!