I had a week vacation coming and wasn’t sure “exactly” what week I was going to take. In the rush to get out of the office I didn’t cover everything I should have. That following Monday, I missed a meeting and had my boss ask me about deadlines. I and even had some colleagues from Scotland call me while I was making breakfast for my kids. I realized that I should have had this checklist:
Checklist for Vacations
1. Know what meetings you need to re-schedule
2. Know what meetings you can cancel
3. Turn on your out of office e-mail assistant
4. Notify people who need to know you’re leaving
5. Forward your phone to your cell phone
1. Re-Schedule Meetings
Look through your meetings and look at who is attending. If there are major projects or major “players” attending the meeting, you should reschedule the meeting. You don’t have to offer an explanation. “I’m on vacation this week” is not necessary. You can just say, “Due to schedule conflicts, I’m moving this meeting.” Or just leave it at “Rescheduling.” It’s up to you how much you want your personal life involved at work.
2. Cancel Meetings
It’s going to be crazy enough when you get back. You don’t have to reschedule every meeting. Some can be deleted. Realize the importance of your time and priorities when you get back. Think to yourself, “What absolutely has to get done when I get back?” If it doesn’t pass that test, then cancel the meeting.
3. Out Of Office E-mail Assistant
This is a checklist. We all know to do this, but we forget. So here are a few items to include in your out of office.
- When you will be back
- Whom to contact in your absence
- What to do in an emergency
4. Notify People
Even if you have your out of office e-mail set, you still need to contact a list of people who need to know you’re leaving. Do it in one e-mail or make the e-mail up and send it to each person separately. Either way, you have to notify some people. Here’s a brief list that you can customize:
- You boss will need the reminder
- Anyone you listed in your out of office e-mail
- Major stakeholders of projects you’re working on
- Anyone depending on a deadline you’re going to miss
5. Forward Your Cell phone
This is more of a philosophical choice for you. But most companies have a tech support group that can set up this option for you. Any call that goes to your work phone can be forwarded to your cell phone. Getting a voice mail box of 50 items when you get back is enough to make you just ignore them all. If the calls go to your phone you have the choice ignore or take them. Usually these calls will be short and you’ll save yourself a bunch of useless work when you get back. I say “useless” because people will call you, leave a message, and then send you an e-mail realize you’re on vacation and then figure it out themselves. This leaves you with a pile of follow up items that were all canceled. Take the call, tell them you’re on vacation and everyone moves on.
If you have more items that need to be added, please share in the comments.
Photo credit: Spree2010