When vacation comes, how hard do you try to spare others from doing your work? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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When vacation comes, how hard do you try to spare others from doing your work?

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Question: "I actually stress out a little when my vacation rolls around, because I feel I should work far ahead as a courtesy to the team so they don't have to do anything for me that I could conceivably do in advance. Without them ever asking me to make that effort, sometimes I wind up working frantically because I don't want to burden anyone during those two weeks. Am I doing the courteous thing, or am I unnecessarily taking on too much?" - Shayley, Tax Preparation Assistant

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret February 15, 2017 at 10:41 am

I do the same thing. A big part of that is because I know how busy everyone else in the office is with their own job and this would alleviate some of their stress. But it is also so that I don’t have as much to clean up when I return from vacation. Relieves my stress at the back end after the vacation.


Jackqueline February 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Shayley you are taking on too much, every position should have a Standard Operating Procedures, and it should be created by the person who is doing the job. Mine is a step by step guide to what needs to be done, how it is done, and were to order/collect items.

I am about to go on 3 months leave, so for the last year I have been updating my SOP, because 2 months of my leave is long service the company will pay for a replacement for me and my manager will spread them part-time over the 3 months. This SOP will be helpful for them as they are a Temp, and it will be very useful for me when I come back as there shouldn’t be a mess to clean up.

Holidays are meant to be enjoyed and to reduce stress, not cause more.


Lori February 9, 2017 at 5:56 pm

It is great you do not want to burden your team with any work you can handle before you leave. However, while you are on vacation it is a great cross-training opportunity for them. They can learn some of the details of your position so if something happens at a later time and you are immediately called away for an extended period of time, (illness, family, etc.), the team is able to function adequately without you. (Not that you aren’t important; every team member is.) Do what HAS to be done while you are gone. Anything with a deadline you would not be able to meet while you are away. Other than that, let the team handle what’s left. You will not be stressed the last days at work and tense the first days of your vacation, and they will gain great knowledge to use later.


Barbara Samuels February 9, 2017 at 5:40 pm

I had to take a family leave for 5 weeks, with only 2 weeks to prepare. By meeting with individuals, asking them what I needed to do for them, that helped a lot. I reviewed my regular list of responsibilities and made sure they would be taken care of. I also leaned on 2 admins as points of contact. I created a detailed out-of-office for e-mails so that others would know who to contact in my absence, including voice mail. It was all about planning and deep breathing.


Pat February 9, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Yes, I find myself doing that even if I take one day off and usually feel guilty for taking that one day.


Sharon Stoia February 9, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Most things don’t get done while I am out except for payroll which I taught a backup to do and wrote a Standard Operating Guideline for.

I still check it for accuracy upon my return since the person covering me does not normally process the Paid-On-Call Division payroll.

I need overtime to catch back up when I return but never get it.


Stacey February 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm

I just went through this exact same thing. I was scheduled to have surgery in January and was going to be out 3 weeks. So, in December I worked double-duty so that I could prevent things from slipping through the cracks while I was out. I learned, after the fact, as long as you communicate your needs and what needs to be taken care of while you are out, it’s okay to let others get a feel for how much you do and your responsibilities.


DeeDee February 9, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Because my work is cyclical and cannot be done in advance, I am not able to work ahead. There should be cross training completed so that you shouldn’t have to work harder just to take a needed and planned vacation. Putting that extra stress on you defeats the point of taking breaks. If you have planned your vacation far enough in advance, add the extra to do tasks to your weekly and daily planner that might help you to work ahead but in a more controlled and sane way.


Sandi February 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm

I think you must a wonderful employee to be so considerate. Still, it is important for your own sanity that you make sure that you are not putting too much stress on yourself or creating health challenges. How do you feel about it? That’s what matters.


Linda February 9, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I always work ahead, and then leave a one-two page list of appointments coming up and who the appointment is with. This is going to be real interesting in October when I’m out of the office for 12 days to attend the wedding of my niece in Italy. I hope


Mark February 9, 2017 at 10:29 am

Where I work, it’s common for everyone to do that. I agree that it is a courtesy. Everyone is already going to be busy doing their own job; we try to do all we can to lessen how much of our job that someone needs to cover in our absence.


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