Maxing Your Relaxing: 6 tips to prepare for annual leave

6 tips to prepare for annual leave

As summer approaches, keep these tips in mind as you get ready to leave the office so you can spend your time relaxing instead of thinking (too much) about work. 

It’s challenging to leave your work at the office now that smartphones and tablets keep you tethered to the job. However, taking annual leave is vital for maintaining a healthy work life balance.


As summer approaches, keep these tips in mind as you get ready to leave the office so you can spend your holiday relaxing instead of thinking (too much) about work. 

1. All about timing 

Keep projects and your colleagues in mind when you plan your annual leave. Don’t make them pick up your slack during the busiest times of the year. Not only is that unfair, but you also don’t want to give your boss and co-workers the impression that you’re trying to get out of hard work. 

If the dates of your annual leave coincide with peak office activity — and you can’t change them (such as attending a child’s school graduation) — give your manager and colleagues as much advance notice as possible. Work with them to find solutions that will help ease the extra responsibilities they’ll be handling when you’re on annual leave.

2. Helping hands

Ask colleagues if they mind taking on projects that need addressing while you’re out. Enlist a few helpful colleagues rather than piling all of your work on one person. Leave managers, clients and team members a list of who will be covering which tasks in your absence. Meet with this group shortly before leaving so you can update them on where your projects stand, what needs to be done, and where relevant files and folders are located. Most of your co-workers will be happy to lend a hand, especially if you return the favour when it’s their turn. 

3. Leave things ready to go

Before you take off, focus on managing your workload and wrap up as many of your tasks as possible. Not only does that leave fewer things for colleagues to have to do, but you’ll have less to worry about while you’re away from the office. 

Take time to do some cleaning so that you come back to a tidy workspace. Also organise your email inbox: Set up rules to send certain emails into special folders so that only the most relevant information is visible to anyone checking your messages. You can also create rules that forward emails from specific clients to the individuals covering for you. Finally, don’t forget to set an away message for both email and voicemail. Include the names and contact information of your backups in your messages so calls and emails don’t go unreturned.

4. Making the most of annual leave takes discipline

It’s okay to check work email or call in while you’re away, but make sure you establish some ground rules so that your holiday doesn’t turn into a “workoliday.” Limit your check-ins to only once (or twice) daily. If you plan to call in for updates, determine with your co-workers in advance what time will be best to jump on the phone. That way, they’ll not only know to be available then, but they’ll also be ready with any issues that need addressing. 

5. Remember to relax

You’ve worked hard all year long. Now that you’ve left your work in good hands, it’s time to relax. In fact, you need to recharge. Employees who take annual leave on a regular basis tend to be more productive. So, make the most out of your holiday — both for your own good and that of the company. 

6. Ease yourself back in

Re-acclimating after you’ve been away takes some time, so don’t set yourself up for extra stress after your time off from work. Avoid scheduling a ton of meetings your first week back. You’re going to have plenty of calls and emails to return, and new projects are sure to come up in your absence. Make certain you leave yourself enough time to tackle these issues. 

By using these tips to prepare for your annual leave, and getting back into the groove afterward, you’ll be able to relax fully — knowing that everything is under control. And the best part is that when you return, you won’t feel like you need another holiday right away!

This article was provided by Robert Half United States and originally appeared as “Maxing Your Relaxing: 6 Tips to Prepare for a Vacation from Work” on the website of ALPHA.

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