October 14, 2016
You work hard and don’t often miss work. Sometimes you need a vacation or time off for whatever reason. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when you are away the person watching your account is taking care of it just like you would? They would have everything they need to make decisions for the best of the account. Taking away the stress that happens when you leave your account in other’s hands doesn’t happen without preparation and planning. By following the three steps I’ll share here, you should be able to close the door on work and open it to stress-free vacation.
1) Introduce Your Fill In
Make sure your client and whoever will be watching your account is introduced, or at a minimum mentioned well before your time off. A quick intro by email is a minimum requirement, but an intro via phone goes a long way in making your client comfortable with your temporary departure. Make sure to choose someone who is willing, has the time, and has some experience with the type of client you will be leaving in their hands. Even if it is an unexpected leave, someone should address your departure with your client and let them know the plan during the time you are gone. This leads to the second step.
2) Create A Plan
Put together a structured plan of what will be happening when you are gone. If it is just a day or two, it may be that the fill in is just “watching” your account. Even if just watching, a quick list of important account factors should be shared with your temporary replacement. If it is longer than that, some sort of plan should be created and shared to not only your fill in, but the client as well. Transparency and buy in is important to ensure stress-free time off. Be specific! The plan should include things like:
- Platforms and logins
- Time/day of call – who is responsible for reports
- Specific action items with rationale
- Client contact information (email and phone)
- General goal of what the expectation is not only for the account manager, but also the account during your time away
Along with putting the plan in writing, you should meet with your fill in. Put aside 30 minutes or so to go over your instructions and allow for any questions. Also, provide the person with someone they can collaborate with internally if something comes up that they need help with. This will take off some of the pressure and reduce some stress on your fill in as well. Side note: It probably isn’t a good idea to launch anything out of the ordinary during this time. Reducing the possibility of crazy performance while you are gone is a good idea and will help with stress reduction.
Finally, meet with your fill in when you are back in the office. Giving them a small token of your appreciation is nice, but not required. Showing someone they have helped make your time off better goes a long way if you want their help in the future. After appreciation is shown, a debriefing should occur. Finding out if anything major happened, whether with the account or the client, is important. Also, find out if there is anything you need to finish or follow up on. Finish it up with appreciation again. People willing to help their fellow co-workers need to be shown love!
Next time you fill out that PTO request, keep these three steps in mind and enjoy your time off knowing that your responsibilities are covered back at the office.