Before you slip away for a relaxing vacation, IT mangers need to take the necessary steps to ensure you’re not overloaded at work upon your return. Here are 10 tips to help IT managers get on your way and avoid getting those pesky work emails while away.

1) Delegate

Schedule time to talk with those on projects you are involved with so you can all coordinate on
what should be done before you leave and what can wait. Wrap up immediate projects and delegate someone to be the point person for ongoing projects. For items you can’t possibly delegate, make sure to let others know that you will be taking time off but haven’t forgotten about them. There is nothing worse than counting on someone to deliver something only to find out that they are out on vacation and didn’t bother to make sure his or her work would get done before leaving.

2) Set up Voicemail

Set up your voicemail with a message clearly stating the duration you are out, whether you will have access to VM or email, and who to contact in case of emergency. For example, it could be:

“Hi, you have reached Joe at Techs-R-Us. I will be out of the office from Monday, June 17 through Tuesday, June 25 with very limited access to email and voicemail. I will get back to you when I return but if you need immediate assistance, please contact my colleague Andrea at….”

3) Have a Team Meeting

Hold a pre-vacation meeting with your team to remind them you will be gone, and go over any key decisions that need to be made prior you leaving.
It is also a good idea to schedule a few minutes with your boss to remind him or her that you will be out and that you have everything covered (what you have delegated, what projects will be on hold, etc.).

4) Turn on Out-of-Office Automated Email

Configure an ‘out of office’ message email auto- responder telling people you are away, when you will be back, and who to contact in your absence. For example, your email could look like this:

“Thank you for your email. I am out of the office on vacation until Tuesday, June 25 and will not be checking emails while gone. For immediate assistance, please call Andrea at 888-888-888.”

Depending on who you have delegated work to (see tip #1) you could add:

“For network related issues, please call John at 123-4321-123. If you need help with new system setup or troubleshooting, please contact Nancy at 321-234-543. All vendors, please contact Jim at 321-432-212.”

5) Mark Your Calendar

Block your calendar with the days you will be out, this way people won’t send you meeting invitations for the days you are not there. This
is especially useful for your boss, who may forget you are on vacation.

6) Modify Alerts

Modify the settings for any internal company systems setup to send you email alerts so that someone else receives them. And, of course, make sure to let them know!

7) Make a List

The list should contain everything important going on that you will want to be briefed about or will have to catch up. This includes important projects that are in progress and decisions that need to be made. Having a to-do list already made for when you return will help you prioritize and get back on track much quicker.

8) Pack your Tech

If you plan on doing some work while you are gone, make sure you have the appropriate cords, AC adapters, VPN card, passwords, etc. If you need specialized software to dial in to the network while out, install it and make sure it works. You don’t want to spend time calling tech support from the Bahamas instead of sipping mojitos.

9) If Working, Plan Ahead

If you plan to use your downtime while waiting in the airport terminal, after putting the kids to bed, between shows and concerts, etc. to get some work done, then plan ahead. Take only the documents you will need, jot down phone numbers or other important information, and set up a timer. It is easy to get carried away once you start working but the timer will help keep you on track so that you can spend your vacation with the family.

10) Ease Back Into Work

Don’t be bombarded with meetings, emails and phone calls on your first day back to the office.
If possible, mark that day as a WFH (work from home) day that you will use to catch up on voice messages, emails, etc. Not being in the office the first day is a good way to avoid the “Do you have a minute?” type of interruption that derails your plans. If you must be at the office, then block your morning so that no meeting is scheduled for at least your first 4 hours back. If possible, get a conference room or separate area where you can focus on catching up.

But most importantly, don’t forget to relax and enjoy your vacation!

Cost of Downtime Infographic