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Planning ahead: How to prepare for time out of the office

As the summer temperatures spike, you might be dreaming of sinking your toes in the sand, but for many, actually going on vacation can seem like a pipedream. Everyone from business owners to executives with overflowing workloads struggle with handing over the reins, and it’s enough to turn a vacation that should be relaxing into something altogether stressful. 

Stepping away can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You deserve to take time to recharge your batteries, and with the right planning, you can make it happen. Whether you’re staying home for a much-needed staycation or jetting off to another time zone, here are some things to consider to make sure everything is smooth sailing while you’re out of the office:

  • Identify your go-to: Choose one or more trusted contacts who can cover for you while you’re away, whether that’s within your organization or through an outside firm or agency. If possible, plan ahead so you have plenty of time for training or trial runs. Delegate clearly and effectively, outlining what you’d like to see accomplished while you’re gone. Most importantly, and sometimes most difficult: trust them to execute what you’ve asked while you unplug.

  • Communication is key: In advance of your time off, communicate clear expectations with your team. Categorize tasks by priority, from those that absolutely must get done to those that, if needed, could be tabled until you get back. Set clear boundaries regarding your preferred communication methods and frequency: will you be periodically checking emails, available in case of emergency, or completely unreachable? Establish escalation protocols and clearly outline what constitutes an emergency. Finally, notify key stakeholders of your absence in advance so they’re not caught off guard.

  • Work ahead: Automate tasks and processes wherever possible, like scheduling emails and turning on out-of-office replies. Maintain consistent programming by writing, reviewing and scheduling blog posts, newsletters, social media and press releases ahead of time. You can pre-empt worst-case scenarios by drafting a variety of media holding statements so they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice. Before you go, review your calendar to reschedule any important meetings during your vacation, and schedule debrief and touch base meetings for soon after your return so you can get back up to speed quickly.

  • Expect the unexpected: You know what they say about best laid plans? Emergencies won’t wait for you to return from vacation, but that doesn’t mean you have to book the next flight home to deal with it. Employing a trusted PR agency can make a night and day difference when it comes to your peace of mind. In the event of a crisis, your agency can help you manage your brand’s reputation by fielding press inquiries, issuing media statements, conducting media monitoring, and engaging on social media, allowing your team to focus on minimizing fallout elsewhere.

Taking time off is a positive thing, and signals the importance of a healthy work-life balance for the rest of your team. With the proper prep work and the right partners, you can enjoy your time off in peace. If you could benefit from our help, drop us a line.



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