Vacation Tips: Checking In with the Office

By Paula Santonocito

smw-vacation-tips-checking-in-with-the-officeQ. When my boss went on vacation for two weeks she checked in so often that it seemed like she wasn’t even away. I’m taking a two-week vacation this summer and I’m wondering: How frequently should I check in?

A. You’re wise to notice how your boss handles her time away. It provides insight into how she views vacation time.

It sounds like she doesn’t believe in letting go, for whatever reason. Some of it could be her personality, but it may also have to do with the realities of today’s work world.

Unfortunately, technology makes it easy, arguably too easy, to remain tethered to the office. There are times you need to cut the cord-or at least unplug it. And vacation, by definition, sure seems like one of those times.

How do you do this, while remaining in your boss’ good graces?

By addressing the issue upfront.

As part of getting ready for your vacation, wrap up any projects that have a deadline. Also, ask your staff or coworkers to cover certain tasks.

Then, explain to your boss how you’ve planned.

If you work in the same location, have a face-to-face conversation. Remind her of your vacation dates. Let her know that deadlines for the Acme, ABC, and XYZ projects have been met. Then let her know who will be covering what in your absence.

After this, tell her when you will be checking in, with whom, and how. “I will call my assistant, Sally, on Wednesday morning and again the following Monday.”

If you’ll have limited access to email, let her know. The last thing you want is for her to be sending you emails and expecting replies.

Be sure and let her know if you won’t be accessible by cell phone on a regular basis either. To get around this, you might say that if there’s an emergency, Sally has the hotel number, and that leaving a message there is probably best. You can cite spotty mobile phone coverage along with activities that make getting in touch by phone difficult-or whatever. The important thing is to provide your boss with contact information, while also establishing parameters.

After you have this conversation, follow it up by email. If you mention your assistant and/or coworkers, copy them on the message. This will make sure everyone is on the same page, literally.

Remember, you are going on vacation. Repeat: va-ca-tion. It’s your break from work.

With a little planning and proper communication, you can maintain your professional responsibilities and your image as a concerned employee, while still getting the downtime you’ve earned.

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