Tips for planning holidays, days off and other absences
3 min

The best way to plan absences

For many SMEs, the Christmas and new year holidays are a moment when business is quieter and employees have at least a few days off planned. But you’ll enjoy your well-deserved holiday better if you prepare effectively for it. Here’s a checklist to help you get sorted.

If you complete everything you need to do before your holidays, you’ll have peace of mind and can enjoy the days off more fully. You’ve probably noted upcoming tasks in your to-do list. And maybe you’ll empty your inbox before the holidays. This checklist helps you plan your absence.

Make your absence known

  • Inform customers at an early stage through all available channels if your business, shop, restaurant, etc. is closing or adjusting its opening times during the holiday season. This means notifying customers on your premises, on your website, in your newsletter, on Google My Business and, through your app, on your Facebook page, via Xing and LinkedIn, etc.
  • If you use an office services provider, let them know where to forward calls.
  • Inform clients, suppliers, business partners and other external contacts about your absence at an early stage, by email or simply through a note in your signature. Remember to indicate who will take over your role while you’re away.
  • Set up an out of office message in Outlook (or your preferred email program).
  • Enter the days off in your calendar. An online calendar such as Microsoft 365 is ideal because your employees can see the absences in your calendar – and vice versa.

Plan for the days off

  • Communicate with the person who will be taking over your role and arrange a handover meeting.
  • Organise how, when and by whom you can be contacted and to whom the other calls should be forwarded. The simplest way to plan this is through a modern fixed-line telephony app for smartphones. This will allow you to easily manage who can reach you while you are absent and whose calls should be forwarded to your deputy. If you use Swisscom Smart Business Connect, you can also connect Microsoft Teams to your fixed-line telephony.
  • Depending on the sector, you may offer an on-call or emergency service over the holidays. Plan the allocation of employees to this service at an early stage and indicate how your company can be contacted in an emergency on your website.
  • Block out your final day for last-minute work.
  • Plan the topics for the handover meeting with your deputy.
  • Arrange for someone to water any plants.

Delegate tasks and work

  • Give your deputy the necessary access rights – for example for online banking, access to digital documents stored online, or accounts – and physical items such as the postbox key.
  • Allocate the tasks that need to be completed during your absence.
  • Redirect post, if necessary.

Updated article from June 2017.

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