I’m writing this blog as we are entering a holiday period and I have noticed many people are confused on what they should do with their calendar before leaving to a vacation. In this holiday period, not everyone is on vacation, and the ones that are on vacation are sometimes taking it on different periods (some of the period might be overlapping between people, but not all of it).
This makes it extremely important that people will handle their calendar properly during that period.
Mark Yourself as Out-Of-Office
The trivial thing to do is marking your vacation period as out-of-office in the calendar. People sometime forget to do that and only turn on the automatic-replies feature for providing out-of-office notification. We all need to remember that those automatic-replies will work only while we are on vacation, which is too late for preventing people from inviting us to meetings during our vacation.
Now that we agree it is not enough to turn on the automatic-replies, let’s see how to block our calendar (as out of office) for the vacation period. The sooner we will do it, the less frustration and less meaningless-work we would experience. So the rule is – once you know about your vacation, block your calendar during that period.
What “block the calendar” means? Just set up a meeting during the vacation period while the “Show As” field contains “Out Of Office”. Don’t forget to turn off the reminder for that meeting, as the default reminder for more-then-1-day meeting is 18 hours, which means it would probably wake you up in the middle of the night (in case you have sync between your desktop and mobile).
Handle Your During-Vacation Meetings
The fact that our calendar is blocked doesn’t mean we are done – we probably have meetings in that period that we should handle. If we would ignore them, we would experience embarrassing and frustrating situations, like people waiting for us in a meeting room, calling our cell phone to understand why we are late to the meeting, running important meetings without us while taking critical decisions that we can’t revert later on (or need to invest much energy to revert). Let’s see how we should handle it.
- Our own meetings: we need to either cancel them (e.g. 1-on-1 weekly meeting) or postpone them.
- Meetings that we were invited to:
- Delegate: first we need to think whether we can delegate them to someone else that can replace us in this meeting.
- Propose a New Time: if you must be on that meeting, propose a new time for the meeting using the “Propose New Time” button. We should put a reason in the proposed-new-time request, so the organizer would understand the reason for it.
- Decline: if you can’t delegate and don’t want to postpone, then decline. At least the organizer would know we are not coming. We should put a reason in the decline notification, so the organizer would understand the why we have decided to decline the meeting.
“Invite” Your Boss to Your Vacation
Our bosses have a lot on their minds. The last thing we should expect them to remember is when we are on vacation. As we don’t want work to interrupt our vacation, we should find a way to make sure our boss can see our vacation in a easy way.
The solution is easy – invite your boss to your out-of-office calendar meeting. This would make sure that your boss has this information in the calendar and can easily watch it anytime. The problem is that now your boss has the calendar blocked as well (after accepting your vacation meeting). All your boss needs to do is go to that meeting, right-click it and mark it as “Free”. Simple as that.
You are all set and ready to go – have a great vacation!