Everyone deserves a well-earned break but it can be tough sometimes to disconnect from the office, especially for IT managers and sysadmins. Preparing for a vacation is stressful at the best of times, but for people responsible for a network it is crucial to make sure everything is in order.
You want everything to run as smoothly as possible. You may be concerned about who will validate that the servers have the latest patches. Or who will manage those last few tasks before a customer’s production deployment.
It takes some planning and preparation to ensure there is adequate coverage for your responsibilities and tasks.
You want to feel confident that your internal and external customers receive consistent support during summer months. To ease your concerns and ensure continuity of your work during your absence, here are five ways to prep for your vacation.
Give Advance Notice
It is important to give plenty of advance notice to inform colleagues of your time off. Depending on your corporate culture, have the necessary discussions with your manager to let him/her know how your work will be covered. Provide a status of your projects. Are there deliverables? If they are, what will need to be completed while you are away? Your absence should not hold up projects in any way.
In the case of a critical event that requires attention from you during your vacation, what is your plan of action? Are you reachable? Share your plan with your team and boss so they know how to respond.
Notify your customers before you take your vacation so they are not surprised when they reach out to you and get an out-of-office reply. Inform them who will be covering for you while you are away. Provide their contact information. If the matter is urgent, provide instructions for this as well.
Enable Your Co-Workers to Cover for You
Make sure anyone who needs access to files or systems has the necessary rights. You don’t want someone covering your work to be in a situation where they can’t access the files they need to do their work. Check that everything on your end is up to date. Trust that your co-workers will cover for you and keep the customer or corporate interests at heart.
Send an Internal Email
You had your discussions and all your responsibilities and tasks have been itemized and delegated. Send an internal email to your team and boss detailing the work and who is covering it during your absence.
In the case of an emergency, ensure someone has your contact information.
Set Your Out of Office Auto Reply
Before you leave the office for your vacation, turn on your out-of-office reply. Sounds easy but in your haste to finish off your work this can be easy to forget.
In your out-of-office reply, note your point of contact. Include the dates of the duration that you will be away. If you work on a team that has a general mail such as firstname.lastname@example.org, include it as well.
Prepare for Your Return
You may want to review your emails before getting back to the office so you can prioritize and address the most pressing issues. Give yourself a few hours the day before. Sometimes your first day back can be overwhelming with the numbers emails in your inbox.
Set up touch points with the co-workers who covered your work during your absence to get an update on what was done and which tasks are still outstanding.
Enjoy your vacation. Be confident that you have good people covering your work. Don’t check your phone too often. You have shared your contact information to address any urgent matters.
Having a plan in place is key for work to progress smoothly. You can be assured that while you are away, your customers are taken care of and your work is getting done.