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Out Of Office: The Ultimate Workplace Vacation Checklist

When a vacation is looming around the corner, it’s easy to get a bit of tunnel vision as the prospect of some time away from the office becomes a reality. However, this tunnel vision may not help you stay productive in your final hours before leaving. As a result, you could return from vacation with more work—and more stress—than you could have had. In order to be sure that you don’t miss anything on your way out the door, use this checklist before leaving the office to be sure that you can return to a stress-free workplace.

What needs to get done?

First and foremost, you must focus on the work at hand. To be sure that you haven’t forgotten anything, make a list of the work that absolutely must be done before you leave. This can serve as your top priority in these few days.

What would be nice to have done?

Next, consider your return from taking time off, and think about the first things you might have to deal with that morning. This can help you assemble a checklist of “nice to haves,” which you can move on to once your priority checklist of tasks is done. Accomplishing even some items on this list will help to keep your stress level down when you’re trying to relax, and you’ll feel more at ease upon your return.

Establish responsibility

When you’re away from the office, be sure to establish the proper chain of command. For each of your responsibilities, who is the go-to person to cover this? Then, for these tasks, be sure to brief the right people on what they need to do, and give any necessary instructions. Keep in mind, the more thorough you are with your instructions, the less likely you are to receive that dreaded phone call during your vacation.

Make a list for your return

In addition to staying organized before you leave, it is important to consider how well you’ve prepared for your return. If you come back to work to a haphazard inbox, it can give you more stress and anxiety. By making a list of your top priorities before you leave, you can stay more focused on your first day back.

Set your out of office

One of the most crucial steps before you leave the office is to set your out of office message on your email—and potentially change your phone’s outgoing message as well. When you set your message, be sure to include the date that you’ll be returning as well as who can be contacted for immediate needs.

Set proper alerts on your phone

In addition to setting your out of office messages, be sure to properly set any alerts on your phone to be sure that you receive the messages that you need to get. Or, if you know that you won’t be needed, turn off alerts for your work email so that you won’t stress yourself out unnecessarily.

Leave a clean space

Last, but not least, be sure to clean your workspace before you leave. Nothing is more stressful than shuffling through unorganized papers to find something you need upon your return. To eliminate this source of unnecessary pressure, some simple organization and cleaning can keep you focused on the task at hand when you come back to work.

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