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How to Avoid Doing Work During Your Summer Vacation

Your sights are set on vacation—your hotel is booked and your new luggage is waiting to be packed. You’re ready for seven days of sun, relaxation, and checking beverage menus instead of email. Or are you?

It’s hard to unwind during summer vacation when a looming work deadline dances in your head. Do yourself—and your company—a favor by making sure your work is covered while you’re away.

Here are the easiest three ways to make sure your tasks get completed in your absence without the need for midnight emailing from your hotel bed.

1. Write Everything Down

You might know your daily routine like the back of your hand… but that doesn’t mean your co-workers do. Make sure you have business process documentation down pat before you cash in that PTO. The person covering for you should have detailed, comprehensive instructions on hand while you’re away. What’s due, to whom is it owed, and when is the deadline?

In addition to keeping your project management system up to date regarding specific tasks, you should also have a place where SOP documentation is easily accessible. If your co-worker forgets how to upload a blog or file an expense report in your absence, where will they go to find out? You want them to check an internal document, not bug you while you’re at the pool.

2. Choose the Right Proxy

With the processes in place and readily accessible, think carefully about who takes over your workload. If you think it’s unreasonable for a single colleague to fill in for you, ask your supervisor to split your tasks between multiple proxies.

The key is not necessarily to choose a fill-in who knows how to do everything you do already. It might be just as important (if not more) to select someone who is capable of critical thinking and willing to seek out solutions. Choose a proxy who will refer to the processes you’ve left in place instead of pestering you just before you go zip-lining.

3. Leave Generous Deadlines

Finally, cut your colleagues some slack where you can. The person who covers for you likely has their own workload to keep up with in addition to yours. Where you have some leeway on deadlines, give them a break. If you have a report that you typically turn in on Wednesdays, but doesn’t get read until Friday, consider leaving a Friday deadline for the person covering your job.

Generous deadlines aren’t always possible, but they could make it more likely that the work gets done seamlessly while you’re away. Just be sure to communicate changes to every stakeholder. You don’t want to get pinged about a “missing” report while you’re at brunch.

Your Key to a True Vacation

Vacations are meant to be enjoyed, not a practice in working remotely. You want to be able to unwind, relax, and return to the office with a new zest for the job. If you’re frantically managing your tasks from afar, you’ll just begin to resent your position.

What can you keep on hand that makes taking a vacation a lot easier for everyone? A good project management system and training manuals are a great place to start. Start a free 14-day trial of Trainual to learn more about creating company-wide and team-based online training manuals that help everyone pitch in as needed when someone is on vacation.