Whether you’re packing your bags for vacation, preparing for family leave, or taking a break for the holidays, time off is important time for you.
One of the best ways to guarantee that your PTO is actually a break from work is a solid communication plan before you sign off.
You’ll want to make sure to follow all the standard practices: Put your time off on your calendar, set up an auto-responder for your inbox, and perhaps the most critical: communicate with your manager and team. (In fact, do this one first!)
For teams using Gather, you have a few more options to help communicate your plans and make sure everyone has what they need while you’re out.
Here are 5 ways Gather can help you communicate your leave plans and prepare to be out of office.
1. Link your Leave Plan in an object on your desk
For longer periods of leave, it’s a good practice to create a Leave Plan to help others get work done in your absence.
Your leave plan might include:
- The details of your PTO: When it starts, when you’ll be back
- Your communication preferences while you’re out (Are you completely offline? In what scenarios should teammates message/email/call you?)
- Who else on the team can answer questions in your absence
- Details of day-to-day processes you need to temporarily hand off
- Project status of any work in-progress
- Links to any additional tools, resources, or documents that might be needed while you’re gone
Traditionally, you might email this document to your colleagues or share it in a Slack channel. With Gather, you can also embed it in an object in your desk – that way it’s always accessible to others without them having to scroll through a bunch of messages to find it.
This can also act as a visual queue when you’re offline, just in case anyone’s looking for you while you’re out on PTO.
To learn how to embed a URL in an object, you can follow this Help Doc.
2. Leave notes on teammates’ desks before you go
In a similar spirit, you could follow the same process above to leave a hand-off note on a coworker’s desk before you go.
You can remind them of important processes or add a link to a hand-off document. Then they’ll be able to access these notes directly from their desk instead of digging through old messages.
If you’re preparing to take time off around the holidays, you might take a moment to write a note of appreciation for your coworker also. Acknowledge their hard work throughout the year, thank them for anything they’re doing to help cover your time off, or just let them know how much you love working with them.
This small gesture can go a long way for your teammates in feeling supported and appreciated while you’re out!
3. Schedule hand-off meetings
Before you officially log off, we recommend scheduling hand-off meetings with your manager or members of your team. Basically anyone who should know the details of your time off or might be helping out while you’re gone.
Gather not only makes it easy to schedule these meetings, but if you forget something at the last minute, you can always walk up to someone quick to pass off that last bit of information.
4. Schedule catch-up meetings.
Much like hand-off meetings, catch-up meetings when you return can be as useful (if not more so for long periods of leave).
We recommend putting these events on the calendar now, that way you know the time is reserved once you’re back in the office.
If you know there are specific topics you’ll need to catch up, create the agenda now also, to help you get up to speed that much faster.
You can link this agenda in the calendar event, on your desk, or within your leave plan for easy access later.
5. Drive your go kart one last time.
Okay, we’re sort of kidding! If you’ll be gone for a long time though or the holidays are coming up (so lots of people will be out), consider planning a social with your team or a casual coworking session before signing off.
This can be a nice way to bring everyone together and build camaraderie before a leave from work.
Enjoy your time off!
By following these tips, not only can you improve communication with your teammates, but hopefully you’ll also enjoy a quiet break away from your virtual office.