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Leaving on a High Note: Steps to Prepare for a Smooth Annual Leave in Year End Season

Picture source: Water Herald

Almost everyone in the company wants to take some time off at the end of the year, whether it's to buy gifts for the family, go to their child's school play, or simply take advantage of what's left of their annual leave. Annual leave is very important for employee health. Taking annual leave can have a positive impact on an employee, but the fact that you are just one of them can put extra pressure on the rest of the team (even if he Even if it's only 1-2 weeks!). That's why proper leave management is a fundamental aspect of leadership, keeping productivity high and burnout low.

To help you prepare for your vacation, here are some steps you can take to prepare for a smooth annual vacation in a reliable and stress-free way.

1. Decide if you’re switching off completely

An important mental decision that will affect the remaining steps of preparing to leave is deciding whether to do a little work or delete all emails, Slack messages, Telegram pings, WhatsApp calls, and social media. If you decide to  switch off completely, that's fine. Below is further advice on how to prepare for a power outage. However, if you plan on completing tasks while you're on the go, set yourself some ground rules  to avoid being available all the time. For example, make it clear to your colleagues that you will only communicate with them via email and that you will only respond to messages in the morning or evening.  We use Slack to check in, but phone calls and emails are also prohibited.

2. Start planning for your time off as early as possible

It may seem obvious, but  the best strategy is to be well prepared before you leave the office. While it's easy to focus on the importance of planning your own schedule before your vacation, it's also important that your co-workers are well prepared. Their workload is likely to increase, so it is their welfare that needs to be considered. But if you're informed and prepared, you won't be left with angry messages.

3. Make sure your team has access to the tools they need 

Depending on your work role, the tools you use every day will vary. However, if you're the only one in your company using it, you may run into problems if your coworkers can't  access it while you're away. Providing access and  a little guidance on how each tool works can be of great benefit to your team. It is also important to ensure that all passwords are saved correctly and remain valid.

4. Automate and queue up as much as you can beforehand 

This tip is especially important for those who work in social media, but it also applies to managers of email and advertising campaigns. For peace of mind,  try planning your campaign in advance for time away from the office. When you prepare your message in advance, you already have  final say on the design and copy. All you need to do is set a date and time to start your campaign. If you're a social media manager, you can use scheduling tools to queue up  posts based on your company's calendar.

5. Put together a brief out of office autoresponder

Setting up an out-of-office auto-reply can help you manage people's expectations while  letting them know exactly when you'll be available again (or can reach you in some other way). If you're on vacation and don't have access to  your inbox, make that clear. Luckily, Gmail's out-of-office reply is easy to set up  in just a few minutes. Keep in mind that your out-of-office message doesn't have to be particularly long or detailed. It simply indicates the level of availability for the relevant dates. While you can  add some personality to your out-of-office message, a direct tone is  best for making your absence clear.

6. Try not to overwork before leaving

When planning your vacation, don't put too much pressure on yourself to make everything "perfect." After all, emergencies and  last-minute vacations also happen. Even if you suddenly find yourself unable to leave the office and  stick to your schedule, accept  the situation as it is. Also, don't force yourself to hit "inbox zero" as soon as you get back. By simply following the tips above, your workload should become more manageable once you return.

7. Make sure you leave your home and workspace clear

Perhaps the last thing you do when preparing for a vacation is to make sure your home is as clean and tidy as possible when you return. If you're in an office, it's also important to leave as much space on your desk as possible. This is because many offices now have policies in place that require employees to at least: use the space with other team members to maintain social distancing; Work 2 meters apart. At the very least, cleaning is a way to step away from your phone and inbox while preparing for a break.

Source: Heavy Weight Agency, Leave Dates, Robert Half

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