Vacation 101 for Small Business Employees

July 31, 2011

Summer is in full swing and everyone in the office wants to take a vacation, but there is a catch. When small businesses lose just one employee to vacation it means they have lost 15-20% of their staff.  This can be brutal for a small business, but with a bit of preparation you can rest assured knowing your coworkers and clients are taken care of.
1.   Decide if you will be “available” during your vacation
Let’s be honest, you’re either completely on vacation or you’re not.  There is no in between.  If you plan on working from the white, sandy beaches make sure you pack the necessities (laptop, Internet card, etc.).  If not, take the time to plan ahead before you leave town.
2.   Tie up loose ends
Have a deal you’re trying to close? How about that deadline the day you get back into town?  While it may be impossible to tie up all of the loose ends, try to get all of your projects to a point where you can let them be for a few days, even if that means working late.  If you know your vacation may impact specific clients, give them a heads up you will be gone and be sure to include an alternate contact.
3.   Create a cheat sheet for coworkers
This single document has the potential to make or break your vacation.  Depending on your position, you might consider including the following:
·         Detailed instructions for tasks that must be completed
·         List of potential questions that might arise
·         Your emergency contact information
When you’re finished, send it via email to your coworkers.  As they complete your tasks or help with projects have them send you the updates in one mass email at the end of your vacation.  The email updates will act as your own personal newsletter when you get back into the office all of the information in one place.
4.   Set your “out of office” email (don’t worry…this one is fun!)
Out of Office (OOF) replies are a necessity these days, but why not spruce your drab response up with a few OOF tips from Matt Heinz at Heinz Marketing?  I got my first OOF reply from Matt a few months ago and in addition to the standard, “I’ll be back in the office on…” Matt includes links to articles that might be of interest to his clients.
5.   Clean your workspace

Growing up, my mom always made us clean our rooms before we left on vacation so we would come back to a clean house.  The same applies to your workspace.  There is enough chaos to deal with upon your return and the last thing you want to face is a messy workspace.  You might even consider dusting your keyboard with that fancy compressed air?


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