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Out Of Office? How to Prepare for Being Away from Work

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

You have to have a lot of hustle in order to work at a creative agency. Agency life is fast-paced, ever-changing and completely dependent on seamless communication to ensure that everything gets completed on time. When you work that hard, you also need to rest hard. No matter what career you have, taking a step away from your job is such an important part of maintaining your mental health in the workplace. When you take time off, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and hopefully mitigate workplace burnout.

In order for you to fully enjoy your time off and ensure that you’re not overwhelmed once you return, there’s a little prep work you need to tend to before you clock out for an extended amount of time. Leaving an out of office message is just one component. Here’s a check-list that will help you prepare for being away from work.

Communicate With Your Team Pre Vacay

Once you officially book your vacation, make sure the person who manages the schedule has your time off on the books. As you probably know, creative agencies sometimes make plans with clients months in advance, so don’t hold off on letting your team know. That way, everyone can arrange for your absence accordingly and there won’t be any scrambling as your holiday approaches.

Set Your Team Up For Success

Make sure you touch base a few weeks before your trip and remind anyone on your team who might be directly impacted that your vacation is coming up. This includes people in your weekly meetings, the person you report to directly and anyone working under you. Make sure the people you manage know who to report to, so nothing gets lost in translation.

A few weeks before is also a good time to start divvying up work that needs to be accomplished while you’re gone. For example, pick one or two people on your team to handle your clients. You can make changes as your vacation date approaches if needed. Be courteous about the extra workload others are taking on for you.

Touch Base With Your Clients

Make sure the clients you have direct relationships with know when you’re taking a break. A few weeks notice will help them prepare and give them a chance to ask you any questions they might have before you leave. Formally introduce them to who will be handling their account while you're gone.

Create Boundaries About Communication

It’s important to be clear about your boundaries when you leave town. Should your team contact you if they have a question? How serious should the situation be before they give you a call? Will you even have access to your phone or the internet where you’re going? It’s okay to let your team know not to contact you unless there’s an emergency. They should be respectful of your time, knowing that vacations positively impact mental health in the workplace.

Work Ahead

If you know you have something scheduled for the week you’re gone that you can accomplish beforehand, work ahead. Also, if there’s something due immediately when you get back, it’s best to finish it before you leave, so it’s not looming over you, and you can actually relax on your vacation.

Draft Your Out Of Office Message

When drafting your out of office message, don’t forget to include the dates that you’re gone, and when you’ll be returning. Include who this person can contact on your team if the matter is urgent.

Tidy Up Your Workspace

Even if you’re working from home, take just a few minutes to physically organize your work space. Reducing clutter will make it easier for your coworkers if they need a document from your desk, and will help you be more productive when you get back from your trip.

Now that all of your ducks are in a row, it’s time to say, “Bon Voyage!” You can rest easy knowing that you’ve prepared properly and that you’ve taken care of your team. Don’t forget to say goodbye to everyone right before you head out, even if they’re a little jealous of your trip.

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