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We’re all going on a summer holiday…

The sun is shining, the bags are packed, the tickets are printed and the ‘Out of Office’ is on – we’re good to go right? 

To guarantee a stress-free break, we’ve put together a short checklist for leaving the office holiday-ready! 

‘Out of Office’ is on

If you’re in a productive mood and just want to get things done, receiving an ‘Out of Office’ can sometimes feel like a bit of a blocker. One way to help with this is to ensure you set up your ‘Out of Office’ in a helpful way! Here are 4 top tips for your ‘Out of Office’ message:

  1. Date – always put a return date on your ‘Out of Office’. This ensures you’re setting expectations, and recipients know when you’re likely to respond. 
  2. Colleagues – if you’re directing recipients to another colleague while you’re away, make sure you’ve cleared it with them and given them a rough brief of any enquiries you may be expecting. This helps them manage their work flow, and means they are prepared for an influx of emails, and it also prepares recipients for a response they may not have been expecting. It’s also worth checking they’re not on holiday too!
  3. Realistic – ensure your message is realistic. If you know emails will not be responded to in your absence, say this, this ensure expectations are set and recipients will not expect a reply until you return. 
  4. Specific – if you need to, you can tailor your ‘Out of Office’ message for internal email addresses, so your response to internal and external messages can differ. If you’re expecting a lot of enquiries around a specific project or question, include an answer to this in your ‘Out of Office’ (provided it is not sensitive). 

A secure hand over

If you’re handing over some of your tasks to a colleague while you’re away, it’s important to review your cyber-security and password management policies before handing over control. Any access you grant them must be in line with security protocols. Some questions to consider:

  • Do they have the relevant security clearance to access the information/system?
  • Do they require any additional training?
  • Can you set a temporary password specific to them until you return?
  • Can IT grant them access with their own password for a specific time frame?

If you’re unsure, speak to your IT team to understand the safest way to allow them access while you’re away.

Logging in on holiday

We’ve all been there, you’re on holiday having a lovely time and you think of something you’ve forgotten or someone from work contacts you with something urgent. Although it shouldn’t happen, there are times when you need to access your work network while you’re on holiday. No matter where in the world you are, there are certain things you should consider before trying to access work systems remotely:

  • Are company devices allowed to be taken abroad?
  • Are you allowed to access company systems from your own devices?
  • Is the WiFi network you’re accessing from secure?
  • Are you allowed to access work networks from abroad?
  • If you’re on a public device are any password being recorded?

If you’re unsure about any of this, consult your IT team or cyber-security policy. With cyber attacks on the increase, and the vulnerability of overseas networks, it’s important to consider these things before putting your network at risk. 

Ensuring you switch off

While often easier said than done, switching off from work while on holiday is important. It not only allows you to focus more on the family or friends that you’re on holiday with to ensure you’re creating lasting memories, but it’s also good for your brain too!

Focusing on something different for a while is like fuel for your brain and helps it to recover from the focussed and hard work it’s been doing all year. You’ll return from your holiday refreshed, more creative and ready to concentrate on the task ahead. 

As a manager, it’s important to support your colleagues in their quest for a break, and not distract them from holidaying with work. Allowing them to reset their brains will not only boost their mental wellness, but also improve productivity upon their return. 

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