Best Practice: How to Go on Leave

header image of lady working on laptop at the beach

For weeks, my colleagues have been telling me that going on leave is good for me, both mentally and physically. I didn’t believe them, then I Googled “benefits of taking leave” and well… they may be onto something. For me, the past couple of months have seen me host un-welcome viral infections, seek chiropractic care for back relief and oh you know… those unpredictable mood swings (which I un-intentionally bring to work).

The unanimous decision was made (at work) for me to take a break. So I booked my tickets; my bags are uh-almost-packed, and nothing will stop this trip from happening! Then comes that horrible feeling… the week before you go on leave, you realise how much you have to do! From coordinating project hand-overs, to ensuring your role/s are covered for the duration of the leave… I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Having been on the Fortix team for 5 years, working with colleagues from different continents and time zones, I’ve learnt a few things. So I thought I’d share with you how this old duck takes leave without ensuing the panic attack:

  1. Deadlines. We all have this never-ending love/hate relationship with “her”. Deadlines need to be set, project work requests are to be created, complete with priority levels, and then assigned to your lucky colleagues. Make sure everyone gets a date with deadlines! (if you’re stressed just thinking about it… we recently wrote about stress management, check it out here).
  2. Documents. Go online, Choose cloud storage! Unless your work requires heavy formatting and macros-enabled formulas, there is no reason why you shouldn’t embrace the latest technology with open arms! Sharing and collaborating becomes second nature when using applications such as Google Docs and Office 365. Automatic versioning included!
  3. Emails. Not interested in coming back from leave and having to spend days going through thousands of unread email? Ditch POP and switch to IMAP (say what? please explain?). Generally IMAP is built for users with multiple devices and those who travel frequently. IMAP allows you to check your emails and action or archive them, from anywhere (provided you have internet access of course). Check out Google Apps; it comes free with Google Docs….bonus!
  4. Passwords. If you’re a chronic worrier like myself, you may want to pack a hand written list of passwords. But if you’re tech savvy (or want to be), there is a number of great password apps (for iOS & Android) that can store all your passwords in one place (check out PCMag’s review). One single encrypted password, gives me full access to all my applications, systems, emails and documents… just in case I need to check something in a hurry.

I have to admit, its been a blessing to work in an innovative environment like Fortix. Having all our work online has made such a difference to how I manage my work/life balance – no longer do I dread “not knowing” what happened while I’m on leave. My team collaborates on each work request (I sent/assigned before taking leave) which means I get a good rundown of how the work progressed, all on one screen – yippee!  So, if any workaholics are out there, and you’re looking for a good formula on how to take leave and still get work done, share this post with them.

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