Workplace Expert Identifies Eight Mistakes That Can Hinder Holiday Breaks

MENLO PARK, CA -- During the holiday season, we all may make questionable choices, like wearing knitted snowman sweaters, overindulging at the dinner table or serving turducken. But according to administrative staffing firm OfficeTeam, the decisions professionals make before going on vacation can mean the difference between a relaxing respite or a harried holiday.

“Taking time off provides an opportunity for employees to recharge and come back to work refreshed,” said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. “However, those who don’t lay the proper groundwork before they leave may find themselves constantly connected to the office while on holiday breaks or overloaded when they return.”

OfficeTeam offers eight common vacation missteps and tips for avoiding them:

1. Carving out time at the last minute. Coordinate vacation dates with your team as early as possible to avoid scheduling conflicts or a lack of project coverage. Be sure to let your coworkers and other business contacts know when you’ll be out. If taking on your tasks is a burden to colleagues, bring in temporary professionals to help while you’re gone.

2. Acting like a turkey. Use your out-of-office features wisely by including an alternate contact on your voice-mail or e-mail notices. This ensures people get immediate assistance and assignments stay on track.

3. Ruffling colleagues’ feathers. Forgetting to cancel or reschedule meetings planned during your vacation is discourteous to others who set time aside to talk to you. Also, mark your time off on any group calendars so people know when you are not available.

4. Committing a technical ‘fowl.’ More than a few employees have returned to work after a vacation only to discover they are unable to log in to their computers. Prevent this from happening to you by changing any soon-to-expire passwords before you leave.  

5. Overstuffing your inbox. Examine the storage capacity on your e-mail inbox to ensure you have plenty of space to receive large-size files while you’re away. In addition, clean out your voice-mail box.

6. Letting your vacation be gobbled up by work. If you must check in with the office while on your break, let coworkers know in advance the specific times you will be accessible. Making yourself too available can detract from the benefits of taking a vacation.

7. Forgetting to give thanks. Express your appreciation to colleagues who take over key projects while you’re away. By providing all the information they need to complete tasks ahead of time, you’ll make it easy for them to cover for you. Also offer to return the favor when they’re out.

8. Not clearing your plate. Avoid scheduling meetings for the morning of your return so you can spend the time getting up to speed on assignments and catching up on e-mail.   

Hosking noted that creating a pre-vacation checklist can provide peace of mind for employees before their break. “It’s easy to overlook minor details when you’re on your way out of the office,” he said. “Having a written record of tasks that must be completed prior to your departure can help you tie up loose ends and make the transition back to work more manageable.”

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam provides businesses with the temporary administrative professionals they need to maximize productivity, achieve cost efficiency and support existing staff. The company has more than 325 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.

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