It’s that time of the year again where the entirety of Cairo is on vacation, and you’re probably dying to take a long weekend off. As fun as it sounds to leave everything behind and just go, adulting is all about being accountable for your actions; so before you pack your swimming suit and sunscreen, here are several things you need to do at the office first.

  • Tell your colleagues that you’re going to be off for [period of time]

To prevent people coming into the office wondering where you are then trying to contact you to do some tasks, make sure that you notify your co-workers that you’re taking a vacation. If your office uses applications like Slack or Pingboard, mark your days off so that people can expect your absence beforehand.

  • Organize your desk and clear your personal possessions

If you’re the kind of person who likes to disperse miscellaneous objects all over their desk at work, it’s not a very promising setting to leave behind and go on vacation. Make sure that anything valuable is stashed away to avoid it being lost, and that your desk looks clean and organized.

  • Prioritize tasks for when you come back

Your life is going to be so much easier if before you leave for vacation you make a prioritized plan of what needs to be worked on when you get back to the office. Use Stephen Covey’s time-management matrix to mark the urgency and importance of each task you have due so that the process of getting back on track when your vacation is over is facilitated. By doing so, you’ll know what you need to get started on as soon as possible, and what is relatively less urgent and important.

  • Start working on what’s due later but could be finished now

After having prioritized your tasks for later, you will know what could be started before you leave. This way, you will get a headstart on the work you will be doing when you get back, smoothening your transition from vacation to work and relieving the workload you will have later.

  • Prepare an adequate handover

Just so that work can go on smoothly during your absence, make sure that you coordinate with your boss on who’s going to be handling your tasks until you come back. Brief your temporary replacement with clear instructions in a face-to-face meeting, then compile all essential documents in an email that they can refer to any time. This will prevent the work pattern that the company adopts from being disrupted and the flow will continue effortlessly.

  • Create an out-of-office message for when people contact you

You don’t want unanswered messages and emails accumulating in your inbox while you’re away, so it’s efficient to design an out-of-office message that can be automatically sent to people who try to reach you. To make things easier for you, here is a template you can use:

[Your Greeting]

I will be out of the office starting (Starting Date) through (End Date) returning (Return Date).

If you need immediate assistance during my absence, please contact (Contact’s Name) at (Contact’s Email Address). Otherwise, I will respond to your emails as soon as possible upon my return.

Warm Regards,

[Your Name]

  • Forget work while you’re away so that you could come back refreshed and productive.

You might think that working on a vacation is a good idea, not to have tasks waiting for you. On contrary, you should utilize your time off to completely omit anything work-related off your mind and to recharge your energy. If you holiday the right way (i.e. you detach yourself from work), you will feel motivated to come back to work, energized.

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