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Vicki Ward

18 May 2016

Are You Office Holiday Ready?

Holiday booked. Beach body (sort-of) ready. Countdown begins... but are you office-holiday ready?

We all work in different industries but a lot of the time we work as a team and deadlines and workloads are implicated by members of the team. For example, in my team I work closely with our in house designer so if he's off or I'm off we have to make sure that we work together to make sure deadlines are hit.

It also may be that there are some jobs that you do every week that you may need a colleague to complete in your absence... here are our holiday office tips to make sure your annual leave goes swimmingly...

Before you go...

Set up how-to guides that are clear and dummy proof: Not to patronise your colleague but sometimes when you are doing a job week-in, week-out you forget how second nature everything is to you. So make sure you include clear step by step guides as well as screen shots. Ideally run through some complicated jobs a week before with the colleague who will be taking over part of your role for your time off.

Of the above - if there are some jobs that need to be done on a certain date - schedule them in your colleague's diary as a meeting request so they don't forget.

Set up a helpful out of office reply on your e-mail: Don't just set - "I'm on annual leave" - make sure whoever is contacting you has the details of someone who may be able to help in your absence. Whether it's another member of your team or your manager. Make sure you give a correct e-mail address and a contact telephone number as well as when you will be back in the office.

Be super organised: remember if you're going away for a week or even two weeks when you get back you will be catching up on everything on the first day so really you lose a day just catching up after yourself and getting yourself back into the office routine so make sure that you prep as much in advance.

Make sure files are on the shared drive: whilst you're away, make sure that any documents or files that colleagues need to access whilst you're away are not on your personal drive but are on a shared drive that they can access as well as providing them with any passwords.

Leave some handover notes: before I went away I was balancing a few different projects, so make sure you let your manager know where you are with everything so you're both aware of projects that have been completed or need more time on. Make sure you've covered off whose picking what up and don't be afraid to ask for your manager to check the progress of projects with other colleagues in your absence.

The day you return...

Get in early: When you return back in the office, try to get in early before the majority of your team so you can have half an hour or more to start on your e-mails before the "How was your holiday?" "Wow you're so brown" questions start and distract you even more.

Set up a to-do e-mail folder: You know how it goes, you come back to 200+ emails, as you go through have a "To action sub folder", then you can drag the important to-do e-mails into a folder and sift through the ones that are no longer important. Then you can start making your to-do list based on this folder and start to prioritise everything that needs to be actioned right now.

Get caught up: Book in a quick catch up with your team about 11am - that way you will have had time to catch up on most of your e-mails and queries and can have a face to face catch up with your team about work and what's in the pipeline next. Be strict and don't use this time to natter, go round and let people catch you up in five minutes where they are with projects - feel free to use this time to share holiday sweets.

Get away from your desk: this may sound like the total opposite thing to do, but when you're getting square eyes from starting at your computer screen and trying to mentally process all the information you've missed while you've been away - a mental break from your desk will just allow you to come back with fresh eyes. Even if it's just going for a quick walk or getting some lunch.

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