Ahhh, summer. It’s just around the corner. As Olaf from Disney’s Frozen knows, summer means, “Bees, they’ll buzz, kids’ll blow Dandelion fuzz…” For big kids, summer may just mean a little less traffic on our morning commutes. Although it’s not two full months off for us anymore, hopefully at least a couple of those summer days are reserved on your busy calendar for a vacation. Taking a break away from work is important, especially for business owners!
Believe it or not, you can take a few days to rest and recharge. The company will not completely crumble in your absence. However, before you hop to that Hawaiian hiatus, here are four ways that will make your reality re-entry really rough.
Not Having a Pre-Out-of-Office To-Do Checklist
Whether it’s for one day or one week, if you are away from your desk, your role and responsibilities may be on hold which impacts other functions within your company. Without a set list of the things that must be done while you are out, it’s very easy for things to slip through the cracks and be missed, creating errors or causing inefficiencies for staff and clients alike.
Best practice? Write up a list of essential tasks. Whether that’s unlocking the front door in the morning, paying bills or updating your eNewsletter list, make sure that another employee is cross-trained in that function. If at all possible, starting this training a few weeks in advance so they can attempt the task with you still around to answer questions is helpful.
No Out-of-Office E-Mail Message – Missed Marketing!
What’s worse than e-mailing someone something time-sensitive only to be answered four or five hours later by constant and utter silence? Nothing. Sigh… That’s frustrating. Did they get your message? Do they have questions? Did the attachment not go through? No clue.
To avoid this scenario with your staff or clients be sure to set an appropriate automatic reply within your e-mail provider. But don’t stop there! You might not be working, but your e-mail still is, so why not take advantage of the recipient’s attention and tell them more about your company, products and services?
While this particular article is geared for how marketers can spice up their sentiments, the overall concept of Hubspot’s “7 Clever & Effective Out-of-Office Replies to Try” can be carried through to other professionals.
After the basics have been covered (the date you’ll return, other staff they can reach, etc.), perhaps you can close with a reminder to read your most recent blog post? What about including a direct link to your workshops registration website, inviting them to join your next event? A really good idea would be to ask for reviews on your particular social media platform of choice. Even use education and show one of your practice area videos.
Add “Setting your e-mail auto-reply message,” to your checklist. You can and should make your e-mail keep working for you, all the while, you reapply your sunscreen.
No Out-of-Office Phone Message – More Missed Marketing!
Similar to an e-mail message above, you have another opportunity to carry your branding over to your telephone answering message. You will have to be a bit more careful here, though. You can’t expect callers to hang on the line for 10 minutes while you spell out the URLs of all of your social media pages they could check out. They’ll hang up and likely be annoyed.
After the basics have been covered in your message (the date you’ll return, other staff they can reach, etc.), perhaps you can close with a reminder to visit your website, www.bestwebsiteever.com, for answers to frequently asked questions. Again, “Visit Our Facebook Page and Leave a Review,” is another good way to go. Give them some sort of action step to take. Another task to add to your checklist.
No Scheduled Social Media Posts
You’ve been inviting people to your page all month and are finally seeing some momentum building. You’re getting “Likes!” You posted an interesting article last week and have been consistently commenting back to the conversation that has emerged. Don’t throw all of that hard work away!
Some of the social media platforms allow you to schedule posts well in advance. Even if you are going to be gone for a week, read up the week before and ready some articles and website links to share. Schedule them now so you can still be “social” while soaking up some sun somewhere else.
It’s really a best practice to have articles and links back to your website scheduled out as far in advance as you can, anyway, but if you aren’t already doing this, at least make sure it gets added to your checklist, too.
Taking some time off is really great! Removing yourself from the daily grind, even if for only a few days, can reenergize and rejuvenate your work, making you more efficient! Just make sure you do your best to make your time away as painless as possible for everyone involved. Get your task list put together, start some cross-training and don’t forget to set your auto-responders with valuable information and hyperlinks, and you’ll be welcomed back with warm smiles after vacation, instead of hot fires to put out.
Reference: HubSpot – “7 Clever & Effective Out-of-Office Replies to Try"