5 essential steps to take before leaving your office for vacation

A short guide of what to do before taking a break from work, without feeling guilty

Vacation is a time of the year that many of us long for! Sometimes, however, the transition from our working life to the holiday mood can be stressful and chaotic. To successfully slip into a relaxing vacation, here is a shortlist of steps you need to take before you actually leave the office. Our list will help you keep your work life in order, even in your absence, and avoid finding a bunch of things to do at your return.

1. Make a plan

Repeat after me: “To-do-lists are my best friend!” – and be ready to create two separate ‘to-do’ lists:
First, make a list of the tasks you have to complete before you go, and those that have to be done by your colleague(s) while you are away.
Second, make a shortlist of things to do as first upon your return, putting your priorities at the top. This will help you focus on the important things on your first day back by giving you a clear starting point.

2. Delegate the things that have to be done before your return

Determine which colleague (or colleagues) is best placed to cover your part of the work for urgent tasks. Provide him or her with all the information necessary to do your work smoothly and efficiently. A few days before you go, set up a meeting to keep them updated on the status of your work and make sure to leave them everything that will help to manage issues they might be not familiar with (i.e. cheat sheets, a list of your passwords, etc)

3. Set up your out-of-office reply

This is easily forgotten, so don’t wait until the last minute to create your out-of-office reply. Email services allow you to schedule your auto-response days in advance.
Whether or not you will be able to check your messages, be sure to include the lenght of the time you will be away; when you will be back and who they can contact for urgent matters in your absence.

4. Tell people ahead of time that you will be gone

Don’t let people find out you are away through your out-of-office message, particularly your top clients and/or customers. Call or email them a few weeks before leaving and remember to provide them with details about who they can contact while you are away.

5. Clean your desk before you leave

Let’s be honest, when you rush to finish your tasks to get them all done, things tend to get a bit messy. Taking some time to clean up and organize your desk before you leave is a great way to be sure that all urgent matters have been deal with. This is also a good practice to make you feel more organized upon your return.

So, have you completed your tasks?
Then it’s finally time to take a break from work and enjoy your deserved vacation!

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