With the advent of warm—or cold—weather come thoughts of vacation. If it’s been a while since you last got away, the urge to drop everything and take off may be overwhelming.
But responsible managers learn to fight the urge and do some planning before leaving on vacation.
This can be much easier if you have some way to see at a glance what shape your department will be in while you’re away. A checklist like the one below is one way to make sure your vacation will be carefree from start to finish:
1. Have you scheduled your vacation at a time that will handicap operations as little as possible?
2. Does your boss know when you are to be away?
3. Have your people been in-formed in advance of your departure and return dates?
4. Have you tied up loose ends of important pending responsibilities?
5. Are there contingency arrangements you
should make with other department heads?
6. Have you arranged to notify those outside the organization who should be informed (e.g., suppliers)?
7. Will you have someone take over while you’re away? Or divide responsibilities among two or more people?
8. If so, has your assistant (s) or replacements (s) been fully briefed for the takeover:
a. key jobs described?
b. critical or hazardous situations highlighted?
c. routines explained?
d. personnel problems discussed?
e. critical equipment pinpointed?
f. problems that can be postponed till your return described?
9. Should you give more than one employee any special information or instructions, so that a key staff member’s absence won’t block action?
10. Have you given someone instructions for handling your in-box items and phone calls?
11. Do your people know whom to check with on unexpected urgent matters?
12. Do they know how to locate key records, other information?
13. Have you verified the ability of key employees to take care of paperwork flow—requisitions, etc.? (This may mean mastery of procedures, code numbers, access to manuals, and so on.)
14. Do you want to leave instructions as to where to reach you in an emergency?
15. Do you know when your boss plans to be away, so that you can settle crucial matters before he or she leaves?
If you plan to be away for more than a week, it may be a good idea to have a chat with each of the people who report to you before you go. That way, you can clear up any problems that may exist and point them toward specific tasks to perform during your absence.