Best Plan-Aheads for a Worry-Free Work Trip or Vacation
You’ll be away from work for a week or more at a conference or on vacation. Your anxiety level is sky high: How will everything get accomplished in your absence? The key to stress-free time away from work is careful planning. Organizing everything in advance means your trip is unlikely to be disrupted, and you can leave knowing you have everything covered. Take a look at what to do months, weeks, and days before a trip.
One to two months in advance
- Let the boss know about (or get permission for) your vacation or work-related travel plans.
- Make travel arrangements—air, rail, hotel, car reservations, and so on.
A few weeks in advance
- Let coworkers and clients know your vacation dates so they can prepare for your absence, as well as advise you of anything they’ll need before you leave.
- Compile a list of the projects that must be worked on or completed while you’re away. Include potential issues that might arise and suggestions for solving them.
- Find an appropriate person cover for you—someone who can easily slip into your shoes. Include that person in meetings and copy him or her on relevant correspondence. Make sure they have a copy of your project list, along with any instructions needed for daily tasks.
- If you’re bringing work with you on a business trip, decide what projects, resources and tech you’ll need to bring along. (And make sure it’s all in working order before you go.)
A day in advance
- Brief the boss, coworkers and your fill-in person on where everything stands.
- Create an auto-reply email and outgoing voicemail with the days you’ll be away, the name, number and email of your alternate contact, and how often (if ever) you’ll check email. Consider forwarding your email to the person who’ll be covering for you.
- Think about making your out-of-office message work for you! Everyone’s seen the data on the restorative and productivity related boosts that come from taking time away. Don’t hesitate to share what you’re doing, why you’re excited, and maybe a link to an article on the benefits of time off.
- Clean your office. Toss out those half-full bags of stale chips and any leftovers in the pantry. Clear your desk—you want to be able to actually see your desktop.
- Leave a note on your—very clean—desk with your away dates and in-house contact information.
Now you’re ready to leave for your business or personal travel, knowing you’ve done all you can so everything runs effortlessly in your absence.