5 Tips for Vacation Communication

Jul 4, 2016Posted by: mdctraining

As we approach the Holiday Season, many of us are counting down the days until a  well-deserved time off from work. And just as we would prepare for a meeting, we should also prepare for our vacation in advance.

We hope these 5 Communication Tips will help you prepare for your vacation and return to work at ease: 

1. Give notice about your vacation well in advance

Whether you’ve booked your vacation a year or a month in advance, your team deserves a fair warning about your travels. Consider the amount of stress and inconvenience you may impose on your colleagues with a last-minute announcement about your two-week trip, a week before you board the plane. Everyone needs time to prepare – yourself included. After all, these are the colleagues who will cover your workload while you’re away.

We recommend giving everyone at least one month notice if possible, especially if you have a larger role within your organization. Set reminders in the weeks and days leading up to your departure so there are no surprises.

2. Delegate jobs and tasks in your absence

Ask your colleagues to take over specific responsibilities and  train them thoroughly on the work you are leaving them with.  Is someone stepping into your client meetings? Brief them on specific client needs and details. Will someone take over a special project for you? Give them a detailed list of what needs to be completed. Prepare a relief document outlining where specific files are located, who to talk to about certain projects or what to do in the event of an emergency.

3. Set up out-of-office voicemail and automatic email replies

Your team may know your whereabouts, but your clients or contacts likely will not. We highly recommended reaching out to important contacts and alerting them of your vacation. Write a clear and impactful voicemail greeting and include the dates of your vacation and return. Leave an alternate contact that can address your clients’ enquires and take care of any pressing matters before you leave.

More importantly, if you’re providing an alternate contact in your out-of-office messages, be sure to notify them and get their permission in advance.

4. Keep all communication brief and to the point

Writing long emails on smartphone can be challenging, so can be reading run-on emails sent from a mobile device. Despite our best intentions, they often include auto-corrected typos and not user-friendly formatting.

When responding to an email on vacation, keep all written communication short and concise. Think about your greater message, structure it into a few key points and relay that message back to your team. Point forms are ideal.

5.  Have a back-to-work plan 

Returning to work after a vacation can be overwhelming. You may arrive back to a pile of email threads, missed calls, memos, status updates, potential issues and pressing questions.

We suggest planning ahead for your post-vacation tasks. You can arranging a catch-up meeting with a few members of your team to discuss key events that happened in your absence. Organize your email inbox and tackle the most important ones first. It’s important to keep an open and honest dialogue with your team so you can go over all details and progress on projects or tasks that you missed.

Have a great vacation and a smooth return-to-work!

Learn how to become an effective communicator and learn to organize your thoughts and ideas with Clarity, Brevity, Impact®. Sign up for a Think on Your Feet® Virtual-live public workshop and learn one of the most important life skills – communication.

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