Preparing at Work for Time Off
If you're like me you may have just now realized that Thanksgiving is next week. And that next week includes time off that you completely forgot about because your work has consumed you.
For each organization this is different. Black Friday may be your company's version of the super bowl. While other companies go dark over the holidays due to inactivity (think Major League Baseball).
Have no fear! I put a plan in place for myself that I'm confident will work for you too regardless of your situation.
Start or end each meeting this week with "where are you going?
Because it's a national holiday you can make this information sharing more inclusive by starting with others. In each meeting this week ask what each meeting member is doing for the week, where they're going and who is covering for them. Only then should you share your schedule. Now you are not only a great communicator but you've made everyone you work with feel included and cared about.
Have a staff meeting
If you don't have one on a weekly basis make a point to have one this week. A simple agenda for this meeting can be shared and should look something like this.
Clarify the MUST DO tasks.
What barebones tasks must be completed to keep the lights on? Who is covering these tasks?
Each member share his/her schedule and provide their backfill for critical tasks.
Not only should this be communicated in the meeting but as the team lead you must send an email to all departments affected by your team's work with the outages and coverages.
How do you as a team want to come back from the holidays?
Setting the tone for how you want to arrive the Monday following is equally as important as planning the holiday week. Leaving work undone prior to the holidays will only mushroom and morph into disaster come the next work week. This is a great way to urge your team to finish hanging tasks before they leave, setting your team up for a successful post holiday week.
When in doubt use your email signature
It's extremely hard to remember to tell every single work colleague and client that you'll be out of the office so why not send it in your email signature a week in advance?
While I believe email signatures with quotes in them are unprofessional, using your signature to denote upcoming time off is smart.
A simple "Please note I will be out of the office November 20-24" under your normal signature is all you need.
Don't forget your family
If you're taking time off but have to be available for urgent matters or projects make sure your family or anyone you are spending the holiday with knows this and understands the situation.
You will receive much more compassion when you explain your work commitments prior to your visit.
When a host knows the schedule of others they can plan the timing of a meal and won't be as put-off by a phone call interruption if they know it's coming.
You'll notice by following this simple list that you'll not only communicate your schedule but you will also receive an abundance of information from your team and work colleagues.
It feels good when everyone communicates!