I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the festive season is around the corner. There are a couple of things that may have given it away, like the decorations that have been hanging in the shops since mid-October, or the mad rush that comes at the end of November as stores start hiking their prices so they can lower them again for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. To me, one of the biggest hints that December is fast approaching is the number of leave applications that fly through my inbox. My own included!
Plenty of people take the last few days and weeks of the year to rest, relax, unwind and reflect. Which is exactly what I intend to do. But before I go on leave, there are always a few things that I like to tick off my checklist to make sure that my time off can be as carefree as possible, without a hint of work creeping in.
And these steps are helpful when taking leave no matter what time of the year it is. It just so happens that the festive season is a good opportunity for me to share them with you. So without any further ado:
6 Steps To Ensure Care-Free Leave
These are the steps that I tend to take, and I even set them up as tasks on Microsoft Planner, allowing me to literally tick them off as I go along. Most of these are simple enough to do on your last day of work, with one possible exception that needs a little extra planning.
1. Set Up An Autoresponder
This will just make sure that those who are not on holiday will know that you’re away, and that there might be a delay in your responses. Looking for some tips on how to set up your autoresponder in Microsoft Outlook, or advice on crafting the perfect message? We’ve got you covered over on our blog.
2. Let Your Colleagues Know That You’ll Be Out Of Office
While you could set up a separate autoresponder to go out to your team mates in particular (and I do recommend you do that), it’s a good idea to also put the message on Microsoft Teams, or any other communication tools your company might use. This ensures that everyone is aware of your absence, and that they know who to turn to when you aren’t available.
3. Keep A List Of Regularly Used Links
Speaking of who people can turn to when you’re on leave, you likely have a particular way that you like to do things. You know your routine better than anyone else, and you know the best ways to do your job – the tips and tricks that make life easier for you. Which means that when you go on leave, you may leave a bit of confusion in your wake for those who are left behind. For example, who’s the best vendor to contact for a particular item that needs procurement? What are the login details for your social media management tool? Where do you keep the stamp for paid invoices (if that’s still even a thing)?
By making notes about your routines – the sites that you regularly visit, the items that are waiting for procurement, the meetings that you usually attend – you’ll make it a lot easier for someone to fill your shoes in the short term. Not in the long-term of course – you’ll still be the go-to when you return. But enough to keep things ticking over in the office while you’re away.
4. Turn Off Microsoft Teams & Email Notifications
Setting up your phone to receive notifications can be extremely handy. It can help you to keep track of tasks throughout your day, ensure that you’re never late for meetings, and that you can keep in contact with your team, even when you’re working on the road. But the last thing you want when you’re trying to relax is your phone buzzing in your ear with every message and email that you receive.
Before signing off on your last day before leave starts, make sure that your Microsoft Teams and email notifications are muted. And the same goes for any work WhatsApp groups, alternative email addresses and other means of communication too!
5. Turn Off Your Alarm
You know what’s worse than your phone buzzing with messages during what would have been your working hours? Picture the scene: you’re snoozing away in bed after a late night of partying, watching movies on the couch, or just curling up with a good book. And then your 6am alarm goes off. You turn it off and try to go back to sleep, but now your brain is wide awake. Only, not quite awake enough to remember to turn the alarm off for tomorrow. And the next day. And the next. Can you tell that I’m speaking from experience?
Set yourself a task to turn your alarm off before you go on leave and it slips your mind. Trust me, you and your partner will thank me when you get back.
If you’ve taken the last five steps in this list, you should be set to breath a deep sigh of relief. You can start your leave knowing that everyone is in the loop, that they know who to turn to if a crisis occurs, and that you won’t have any notifications detracting from your well earned rest.
By taking the time to set yourself up for success, you can trust that everything will be in order when you return, and that you’ll be ready to take on 2023 and whatever it may bring.
Where Does Solid Systems Come In?
If you’ve reached this point in the article, you may be wondering why I actually took the time to write it. The truth is, Solid Systems has a goal – to make people’s lives easier. Improving company culture, and finding the right technology to help your business do just that, is part and parcel of what we do. If you want to learn more about what makes sets Solid Systems apart from other IT companies in Johannesburg, IT companies in Cape Town and global IT companies, check out our blog on what ‘We’re Human Not Robots’ means to us.