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June 4, 2024 4 mins

Planned time off doesn't need to be a surprise

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning,
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is to ask about your colleague's vacation schedules. There
is no reason to be surprised by planed time off.

Smart teams build it into their timelines so they can
stay on track. It is basically summer as this is airing,
which means that lots of people will plan to take
some vacation days over the next few months. And that
is great. But while we think a lot about our
own vacation schedules, we might not be quite so well

rehearsed with everyone else's plan time off colleagues, clients, and
so forth. That can lead to delays or sometimes to
work being done on timelines that don't make sense. For instance,
you might agree to a tight deadline not realizing that
a key team member will be gone for half of

the intervening days. Or you might plan to get something
to a client's on the friday before it turns out
he's going on vacation, not realizing that there is no
way he'll be looking at it for another week, so
you didn't have to rush quite so much better to
be proactive, there are a couple of approaches you could take.

The first is that as you are planning out any
long term project, you bring up time off as you
are creating the timeline. As in Nelly, it looks like
I'll be giving you the draft slides by June fourteenth,
given your planned time off, does that timing still work
for you to get the slides to the graphic designer
before everyone is out of the office for the holiday

starting July third. Now you might think that people would
naturally think about what other commitments they have during a
project timeline, but my own experience and what listeners tell
me suggests they may not. People sometimes think, oh, that
deadline is four weeks away, this project is definitely doable

in four weeks, without taking into account that they will
be out of town one of those weeks and working
remotely another week while their kids are in between school
and camp. By explicitly connecting timelines or deadlines to plan
time off, you can avoid surprises. Another approach to communicating

about time off is to routinely check with colleagues and
clients about their vacation days, not just in relation to
specific deadlines. At meetings, ask about plan time off and
put that information into your meeting notes. This is a
good routine all year long, and even more important around
the summer and winter holidays. You can simply ask ask

any upcoming time off we need to be aware of
at the end of each meeting, then include a list
of plan time off in the meeting notes and the
agenda for the next meeting. This doesn't need to be elaborate,
just the heading plan time off and the name of
each team member with the dates they'll be out of
the office. By documenting the time off, you create an
easy reference for everybody. You also gently reinforce the norm

that you have a responsibility to communicate with colleagues about
plan time off well in advance. Time off is a
good thing. We just need to communicate it and plan
for it so we can meet deadlines and avoid delays
in frustration. By asking about colleagues vacation schedules, you can

increase the chances that everyone stays on track in the meantime.
This is Laura, Thanks for listening. Here's to making the
most of our time. Thanks for listening to before breakfast.

If you've got questions, ideas, or feedback, you can reach
me at Laura at Laura vandercam dot com. Before Breakfast
is a production of iHeartMedia. For more podcasts from iHeartMedia,
please visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you

listen to your favorite shows.

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Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

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