5 tips to organise yourself at work before going on holiday

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As the holiday season is fast approaching, many employees look forward to taking a break. But to get the most out of their holiday, organising their work and workspace ahead of time is essential. This is so they can relax without having to worry about tasks that are not complete. So, how to organise yourself at work? Supporting the teams in this respect helps them go on leave in a good frame of mind and improves their productivity when they return. This article sets out 5 tips on how to organise yourself at work before going on holiday.

Tip 1: Prioritise

In order to organise yourself at work before taking a holiday, one good idea is to start by prioritising your tasks. But how do you find your own organisation?

The first thing is to make a to-do list. This list should include everything that needs to be done while the employee is on leave. It is then a question of determining how urgent each of these is, depending on short- and long-term goals.

Tasks that contribute directly to achieving goals should be considered more important than others. Any which need to be done immediately or as soon as possible are more urgent than others. Ultimately, the less urgent can be postponed until the employee comes back to work.

Once the importance and urgency have been established for each task, they can be prioritised. The most important and urgent tasks should, of course, be tackled first. Prioritising like this will help people taking leave to focus on essential actions before going on holiday. It also reduces the stress associated with work.

Tip 2: Plan deadlines and anticipate your return

When it comes to taking time off, some people worry about pausing something they are working on. The company does not grind to a halt while they are away. Some tasks need to be completed on time to finish a project. It is therefore important for employee well-being to plan deadlines ahead.

Where possible, important tasks falling due while on leave should be addressed before going away. Otherwise, they will have to be postponed until after the holiday. Planning tools such as shared electronic diaries or project management software can be useful to avoid forgetting anything. Similarly, all paper files should be put away properly and the desk cleaned before going on leave so that the person covering them can easily find what they are looking for.

Just before leaving on holiday, employees can update their e-mail signature to show when they are out of the office, so everyone (partners, clients, etc.) is in the know.

Managing all these timings might seem tedious. However, it means employees can return to work with a clear impression of each task that needs to be addressed and function at their most efficient from the moment they come back. They will be in a calmer frame of mind and will manage their time and workload better, which will have a positive impact on their work satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

Tip 3: Communicate with your colleagues

Communication is key to organising your work effectively before taking time off. Talking to colleagues means everything can be taken care of and they can be told about anything important for current files as well as pending work. Communication helps prevent misunderstandings and anticipate potential issues.

Employees know that everything will be fine while they are away. As well as knowing when someone is going to take time off, the person covering for them must also have all the information necessary in order to continue their work. This interaction between colleagues will improve bonding and collaboration within a team.

A wall planner is often a good idea so that all employees can see when colleagues are going to be away. This sort of display board provides a very useful visual guide. Similarly, a whiteboard accessible to everyone and where repositionable coloured notes can be put up, means priorities can be communicated conveniently and effectively.

Finally, embracing workspace organisation techniques such as a flexible office layout or introducing coworking encourages teams to work together, an approach which can become very useful later on when sharing out work before taking leave.

Tip 4: Ensure a smooth handover

It is sometimes essential that someone else takes on certain files when an employee is away. A smooth handover is essential to keep everyone in the team satisfied.

For this, a handover meeting can be arranged with anyone providing cover to go over the following:

  • Projects at hand;
  • Works in progress;
  • Tasks that are essential to complete while away.

This group discussion can be followed up with detailed written instructions for each action. Employees must remember to share important contacts with their colleagues. This makes it easy to find the information they need.

Finally, the benefits of arranging a follow-up meeting when returning to work should not be overlooked. This discussion will look at what has been done during the holiday absence. It also means any feedback can be collected relating to what has been achieved. This makes for a smooth handover while ensuring that the work has been done properly.

Tip 5: Update working documents

Organising yourself at work also involves constantly updating all important documents, including:

  • Activity reports
  • Records of meetings
  • Spreadsheets
  • Databases

Someone might volunteer to keep these documents up to date while their colleague is away. They can then return to work in a calm frame of mind, knowing that they will only have to check through these reports to catch up on what they missed while away. Keeping things up to date also ensures work is not interrupted.

The person updating the documents can be trained in the specifics of the projects the future holiday goer is working on. They need to be able to answer their colleagues’ questions if necessary. If someone uses online collaboration tools, it is important they think about sharing access to their files with the person covering for them.

Why organise your work before going away? As you can see, it is essential to organise each task properly before taking leave. It means employees can let go and recharge their batteries fully while on holiday. This is bound to have an impact on their productivity and mental health. It is therefore important that this preparation be planned properly, so people can go on holiday in a good frame of mind – especially as this will encourage a positive, enjoyable experience for everyone within the company.

Are you looking to help your employees prepare to go on leave? The 5 tips set out in this article will help them get organised effectively.

Lauren Warwick