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Holiday Time Off: Preparing for Your Absence

13 Dec. 2017 Posted by aadams

Jackie McGee, Work-Life Specialist

As I prepare for the upcoming holidays and the potential for vacation, I’ve been contemplating ways to make sure my job responsibilities are covered during my absence.

I fill the unique role of work-life specialist for FEI’s employee assistance service center, so taking time off requires a lot of forethought and consideration of my daily tasks. As a 24/7 service provider, guaranteeing someone is available to handle customer inquiries means coordinating between my co-workers, my manager and myself.

Either you or your staff are likely facing a similar situation. As you prepare for the holidays and take time away from work, consider a few factors:

  • Will you be able to get your assigned task/projects done before being away for vacation?
  • Do you have enough paid time off (PTO) remaining to be able to take time off?
  • Will coverage be available for your role while you’re out of the office?
  • Has someone else been trained on how to complete your responsibilities during
    your absence?

Making sure employees have been cross-trained for different roles is an especially notable point. My biggest concern during PTO is dealing with stress stemming from my absence—and knowing my customers are being taken care of by someone with the training to assist their needs.

Assuming an attitude of “I’m on vacation, management can figure out who will handle my responsibilities until I return” can cause problems not only for customers, but for co-workers and supervisory staff. I know that my customers are counting on me to handle their services, and it’s my job to work with my department to meet those needs.

Before making plans to be away from the office this holiday season, work with your staff to assure you’ve considered all possible obstacles and stressors. If you’re like me, once you’ve addressed those challenges, then you can enjoy your vacation.


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