Take off, knowing the office is in good hands

Whether you want to enjoy a summer vacation or have to unexpectedly be out of the office because of a family emergency, actions you take now can save you from worrying about work. These preparations will make you confident that your colleagues can handle your absence:

Plan ahead. When possible, schedule your time out of the office far in advance. That allows you to manage projects around that time, instead of trying to squeeze things in.

Notify others. List the people you interact with frequently, including important customers, vendors and internal contacts. Tell each person when you will be out of the office and whom to contact during your absence. Example: “I will be taking a vacation the first week in July. If you have any questions about the benefits project, call this person …”

If you are unexpectedly out of the office, have a co-worker update your voicemail and email with instructions for people trying to reach you.

Cross-train. Review your job description, ensuring that it is up to date. Then identify at least one person to handle every task when you are away. Schedule time to train those people and test their skills while you are still in the office to answer questions.

Provide resources. Make sure team members have the tools, guidelines and authority they will need to operate in your absence. Introduce people to others they will need to contact directly when you are out. Remember to include tips such as “Bill is much easier to reach by text than phone or email.”