Preparing your Co-Workers for Your Leave

By: Lauren Millard

Based on the title, this may sound like I’m giving you tips for quitting your job, but I’m not. At some point or another, you may have to take time off work. Whether you’ve planned a family vacation or you have to take leave time, there will be a time when your co-workers will cover your job. When you’re gone, the company doesn’t stop functioning without you (even for those of you who are positive it will). There are times when you won’t be able to plan for your leave, but if you know you are about to be on vacation or take 6-12 weeks off for maternity leave, you can plan and prepare for that. I am currently expecting my first baby in June! I know that while I am out on maternity leave, the four other people on my team will step up and take on extra work to cover my tasks. Here are some tips you can use to help prepare your team for the transition: OOO

  • Email Communication – If you’ll be out for a week or so, setting up an out of office reply on your email should be sufficient. You may want to also include information of an alternate contact they can reach while you’re out. If you’ll be gone for longer, you’ll want to work with IT to ensure your email is forwarding to someone else. While you’re out, people will still be contacting you, and you don’t want to leave them hanging for weeks with no response.
  • Create Procedures – If there are tasks/programs that you handle, you will want to ensure you have detailed procedures for how to handle certain things. You may also want to create a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document. This will help transition the task, and keep you from getting phone calls with questions while you’re out.
  • Training – If there are entire program areas that you solely focus on, you’ll want to be sure you have a sufficient plan to train a co-worker on that area prior to your leave.
  • Create a Calendar – Certain tasks require being done on specific days. If someone new is taking over in your absence, they may not be so familiar with the schedule. Creating a calendar for their reference will help them stay on track, and to ensure things don’t slip between the cracks!
  • BE PROACTIVE! If there is anything at all that you know you can handle prior to your leave, be sure to take care of it! The e-blast that is scheduled to go out while you’re gone? Go ahead and create it, save it, and schedule it to go out! This will ensure the task gets completed, but it doesn’t have to fall on anyone else’s plate!

Obviously, these tips are helpful if you know the leave is coming, but if a leave of absence was not planned, you can find some helpful tips here! Preparing for leave is stressful! Not only for yourself, but for your team as well! Any extra steps you can take to help ensure they are not bombarded and stressed while you’re out will ease not only your mind, but theirs! The more help you can give them the better, but I’m sure they will still be thrilled when you get back to work, and things return to normal! LaurenMillardBio

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