Out of Office Checklist for Employees and Managers


Planning for Time Off: Our Out of Office Checklist for Employees and Managers

With more employees working from home than ever before, the boundaries between work and life have blurred for many. As employees, we want to produce the best work product that we can. As managers, we want to help our employees be their most productive. But to perform at our best, research indicates that our brains need a break – and that means time off.
Whether you’re planning to take some time around the upcoming holidays or are thinking ahead to future vacations, here are some tips for preparing for your time out of office.

 As an Employee: ACTN Strategies’ Out of Office Checklist

 Schedule time off with your boss and put it on the shared calendar.

 Make a plan to take into account any deadlines around your vacation time and write it down. 

 Communicate with your team and clients to let them know you’ll be away and what the plan is in your absence. 

 Create a list of contacts, phone numbers, or documents that your coworkers might need while you’re away.

Clean your desk. Taking time away should leave you feeling refreshed and returning to a clean workspace will help you hit the ground running.

Craft an out of office message that includes when you’ll be back, whether you’ll be responding to messages while you’re away, and who to contact in your absence.

Unplug. While you’re away from the office, unwind and take the time to rest and reset – your brain (and coworkers) will thank you.

 As a Manager: How to Plan for Staffing Around Employee Vacations

 Start preparing early. Employees tend to request the most time off in both summer and winter months, so plan ahead, and establish a system for your team to choose vacation time. Depending on the industry, around the holidays you may consider implementing a first come, first served policy; a staggered schedule where one group works in the morning and another in the afternoon; a more liberal work from home policy; or a team meeting where employees request both first and second choice dates and work it out together.

Whichever approach makes the most sense for your team, create a shared calendar so everyone knows who to expect in the office and who is away when.

Once a schedule is established, make sure all office tasks are covered. Ask anyone going on vacation to delegate their work so nothing falls through the cracks. To avoid burning out any one employee, consider spreading out the additional tasks among two or three staff members.

And of course, remind anyone going on vacation to setup an out of office message. As we said before, a good out of office message should include how long an employee will be gone, whether they plan to answer email or calls while away, and who to reach out to in their absence.

Planning for vacation takes a bit more than just choosing a destination, but the extra work up front will allow you and your team to return to the office refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on the next challenge.

At ACTN Strategies, we’re here to help you build operational resilience and navigate staffing needs so that you, too, can Rise to Every Occasion.