Out-Of-Office Checklist For The Holidays

Now that it's the holiday season, it's time to take a well deserved break. Everyone dreads coming back to office after the holidays because there are a ton of emails and things to follow up on after each break.

So whether you’re out of the office for a meeting, travel or other change to your schedule, use this checklist before you leave so that you can get up to speed as quickly as possible.

Before leaving the office

 Set up your email’s automatic response

Automated responses are more productive—for you and your colleagues—when you include the dates you’re away from the office, alternative contacts and how often you’ll be able to check email.


 Update your voicemail message

Include the dates you’re out of the office, alternative contacts and how often you’ll be able to check your messages. If you’re taking calls during your travel, set your office phone to forward calls to your cell phone or the temporary number where you can be reached.


 Update your calendar

Schedule your time away as an Out of Office appointment so that colleagues who are scheduling meetings will be able to see you’re not on site.


 Plan for your return

Depending on the duration of your time away, you’ll be playing catch-up when you return. Schedule some time on your calendar, on the day you return, for catching up. Do it now, before your calendar is booked solid.

 Make space in your email

The longer you’re away, the more likely your inbox will fill up—or worst case— stop receiving messages. Clean it up before you leave to maximize space. Start with emails with attachments and those with the oldest Received dates. Save messages to Personal Folders, which (for Outlook) are stored on your PC, not the mail server. Delete Sent Items and finally, remove Deleted Items.

 Copy your travel itinerary

If an emergency or urgent business matter occurs while you’re away from the office, it’s much more efficient if your associates can reach you quickly. Provide a copy of your travel itinerary to your assistant or colleague(s).

 Turn off electronics

If you’re leaving the office for more than a few hours, turn off or unplug equipment to conserve energy while you’re away.

 Cache your receipts

It’s easy to lose track of receipts as you travel. Decide on a specific place where you will collect them all, perhaps a side pocket in one of your bags. If you don’t receive a receipt, make a note of the purchase while it’s still fresh in your memory and add it to your receipt cache.

 Pack/Dress for screening

For airline travel, refer to the Changi Airport Departures webpage for the latest advice, but in general pack liquids in checked baggage and keep your carry-ons clutter free so they’re easier to screen. And dress for screening. For example, wear slip-on shoes instead of laced ones. The faster the screening goes, the faster you’ll be on your way.

 Copy important documents

File of copy of important documents like your passport, visa and driver’s license in a secure place accessible by someone you trust. If lost or stolen during your trip, a copy will make replacement a little easier and save a lot of your time.

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Done with the checklist? You can now go on holiday with ease!
Here's a second checklist for when you come back.

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