It's likely that many of your coworkers take a sick day or schedule a vacation without a second thought, while you spend your time off wracked with guilt and worrying about the state of operations while your “OOO” auto-reply is left in charge.
Enter the office ninja’s foolproof plan for guilt-free days off. It’s a lot like a lesson plan for the substitute teacher. Will these be the most productive days at the office? Probably not. But at least you won’t return to find the place in shambles.
Step 1: Pare down Your Day-to-Day Essentials
The day-to-day of an office ninja is anything but typical. While there may not be a discernible pattern, you should think about the tasks that ABSOLUTELY MUST HAPPEN in order to maintain a functional office. Things like mail pick-up, overnighting time-sensitive packages, setting the security alarm, etc. Identify those key things that need to be done on a daily basis, as well as what someone else needs to know (the FedEx log-in, the security code) in order to carry out those tasks.
Step 2: Identify and Train Your Interim Ninjas
Depending on how your position is structured you may already have a few people that you work closely with, or at least a few people who you wouldn’t mind asking for a favor. Provide your buddies with all relevant log-ins, passwords, and codes (this is where password managers like LastPass, Dashlane, and Meldium come in handy), and make sure that the rest of the office knows who they should contact for specific things while you’re out. It’s a good idea to send an email containing this information the day before you leave and also include it in your auto response. And, if your role requires that someone be available to answer your phone, double check that IT knows the protocol for transferring your line.
Step 3: Compile a “This-Is-My-Brain-On-Paper” Manual
Next, give your newly deputized interim ninjas a leg-up with a cheat sheet, aka an OOO manual. This will prevent (or at least greatly reduce) frantic calls from confused and overwhelmed officemates.
Be sure to make your manual as thorough as possible, including everything from multi-step processes to items you think are obvious. Yes, everybody should know where they can find more printer paper, but that doesn’t mean that everybody does. Put this manual in one central location, and make sure everyone knows where it is (if you have a shared drive or an internal Wiki, throw it up there!). In the event your coworkers need something ASAP and they can’t find it in the manual, make sure they have your personal contact info.
You have worked hard to create and maintain an organized and efficient office, and that hard work shouldn’t go to waste when you’re gone. By putting this plan in place you can enjoy your much deserved time-off while still keeping your office and its inhabitants happy!
Office Ninjas, what do you do to ensure things run smoothly in your office while you’re gone? Share them with us in the comments!