Whether you are heading out for business or vacation (or SOWBO’s upcoming Passive Income Mastermind in downtown Nashville), time away from the office always gives you a fresh perspective on your work. And, a bit of pre-planning makes your trip more enjoyable and your transition back to work a little easier. Here are seven essentials . . .
Start by Making a List of all you need to take care of at work and at home before you go. Think of all the things you do in a normal week and make a plan for how to get it all covered while you are gone.
Then, Enlist Teammates or Family Members who can help with anything urgent that arises while you are away. Make sure they have access to important documents or files. An easy way to do this is add everything essential to a shared Google Drive.
You’ve cleared your calendar, but you may want to Inform your Clients that you will be away, especially if you are working closely on a project or have a pending deadline. Tell them where you are going and when you will return.
Go through Emails and Return Calls so that you don’t leave any loose ends when you head out the door. You want to be fully present on your trip, so don’t let any lingering issues distract you.
Tidy your Workspace (also referred to as “leaving in dying condition” by southern grandmas), including clearing your desk, emptying the trash, and watering your plants. Taking some time to clean up now will make your space ready to go when you get back.
Being away takes extra planning, so Build in Margins before and after your trip. Block off a few hours before you go to tackle your to-do list and, if you can, keep your first morning back at work free from appointments and pressing deadlines.
Finally, create an automatic Out-of-Office Message for your email.
Setting an auto-response email allows you to focus on the purpose of your trip and not worry about missing important emails. It also lets people know that you are not irresponsible or ignoring them! An Out-of-Office message helps your business keep functioning while you are gone.
Keep the tone professional and friendly, and find the balance between too little and too much information for your OOO message. Consider including the dates you will be away, the reason for your absence, and people who can help in the case of an urgent need (if you have teammates who can respond for you). You can also direct people to helpful links on your website or any promotions you are running. If you’d like, let clients and potential clients know when they can expect to hear from you on your return. Avoid making your response too long or giving too many details about your trip.
At SOWBO, we encourage everyone to open a Gmail account and take advantage of all Google’s great features, including their Vacation Reply and Out-of-Office status. You can find all the options and complete instructions for linking an OOO reply to your Gmail account here.
You can customize your reply, which is sent immediately after a new email lands in your inbox. If the same person contacts you again after four days, the reply is sent again. Also, any messages sent to spam or from a mailing list will not get your out-of-office reply.
If you are attending SOWBO’s upcoming Passive Income Mastermind, September 7-10, we’ve created some templates that you can customize and drop into your autoresponder here.
Before you head out to SOWBO’s Mastermind, add an auto-response email to let people know you are out of the office. Here are several templates to choose from. Customize, then copy and paste into your autoresponder:
Thanks for reaching out! I am currently attending SOWBO’s Passive Income Mastermind and have limited access to my email. I will respond to your email as soon as possible on my return.
Have a great day,
Thank you for your message! I am out of the office today at SOWBO’s Passive Income Mastermind. I will be returning to the office on September 13 and will respond to all emails in the order they were received.
Thanks for your email! I’ll be out of the office from September 7-10 attending SOWBO’s Passive Income Mastermind. If you need assistance while I’m away, please contact [Name] at [email and/or phone number].