The Christmas season can do wonders for staff morale – especially when there are a few days off work involved. For many workers, the temptation to simply unplug and disengage can be strong when you’re about to take some valuable time off, but many are put off by the prospect of returning to a packed inbox and a collection of calls to be returned.
By making a few simple preparations before clocking off for Christmas, not only can you relax in the knowledge that your more unfortunate colleagues can keep things ticking over without rushing to interrupt your break, but you can come back to an organised and efficient office that is ready to start the new year.
Hold my calls
You can set the Out Of Office function on your email software to send automated messages to anyone who sends an email over the quiet Christmas period. But on most office phones you’ll find you can perform a similar function. Before you leave, just update your outgoing message to include a greeting, state that you’re away over Christmas, and the date on which you’re expected to return. Now you’ve got a tough decision to make: enjoy a holiday free from interruption – or leave your mobile number in the voicemail message?
There can’t be many more undesirable feelings in the office than coming back to huge swathes of paperwork, especially if it’s cluttering up your workstation. Before you escape for some seasonal fun, take some time to organise your in-tray and ensure that your colleagues know how to access any files they may require during your time off. Shred the documents that you no longer require – it may be a pain to make so many trips to the recycling bin, but your desk will no longer be groaning under so much wastepaper weight.
Once you’re left with only the important documents on your desk, make sure it’s all been properly archived or, if it’s recent work that someone needs to access more easily, file it away properly to avoid any admin headaches. A lot of admin tends to take place over the Christmas period, as staff can take advantage of a quiet office to go back over the past few hectic weeks, in order to properly process any work that may have fallen down the order of priority.
Everything in its place
Finally, once you’re satisfied with your desk declutter, bundle the docs into a wallet or folder for safekeeping. If a colleague needs access to these sheets, they can be easily accessed too.
After all the hard work you’ve put in this year, you deserve a break – but before you go, make sure to follow this advice and start the new year as organised as you left the last one.