5 Tips for Preparing for Holiday Vacations

With the Holiday’s & winter weather rapidly approaching, employees will likely be spending more time outside of the office. Maybe your company allows employees to telecommute on snow days, or days with particularly bad weather. Perhaps paid time off (PTO) is encouraged around the Holiday season, so that employees can spend intentional time with their friends and families. In turn, traveling may bring on cold & flu season, encouraging employees to work from home where applicable, to reduce the spread of traditional and COVID-19 related germs. Whatever the reason(s), it is important that your team is set up for success when working from home. Below, we outline a few necessary steps to ensure employees outside of the office can work effectively & efficiently — allowing your IT team to take a much needed break, as well. 

  1. Is your team ready for Telecommuting? 

It is a good idea to confirm that all employees are comfortable with telecommuting practices – including docking their laptops at home, securing a mouse & keyboard or additional monitor (as necessary), and logging in to any VPN or file-sharing drives. As the Holiday season will likely bring a surge in the number of employees out on the same days, it is also important to ensure that your remote access mechanisms are equipped to handle increased users. 

  1. Turn on auto-responders

It is common for employees to check in on their email inboxes while on vacation, however to create the opportunity for a full “unplug” we encourage all employees to set an auto-response on their email. This should outline your return to work date, if your customer or Client should expect a response in your absence, and who to contact in case of an emergency. Setting up a Google Voice number is free, and a great way to create a centralized location for emergency or urgent requests (both internal and external). 

  1. Evaluate recurring events 

If the office will be shut down for all employees for an extended period of time, ensure that any processes involving backing-up systems are performed just before the office closes. If there are any systems that require periodic rebooting, and select employees will still be working remotely, ensure that someone is available to run this process if necessary in your absence. 

  1. Clarify support expectations

Of course, IT team members are usually available to assist with emergent issues, such as a down server or company wide software outage. In the event that a single employee wants to work remotely during a company-wide Holiday, but cannot access the company VPN, or a specific file, should your IT team make themselves available to support in this case? It is important to set a company wide expectation so that all employees are aware of proper protocol on company Holidays and vacation days.