I don’t know about the rest of you but my mind has started to wander towards my annual leave. I have a little mini break to Geneva coming up this weekend (can not wait!) and then I am hoping to take some time off in August. Although I do travel quite a bit, for work and for pleasure, I always find the build up to my trip quite stressful. It seems like I race through the last few weeks prior to a holiday hoping beyond hope that I will get everything done so that I can switch off and attempt to relax! As an assistant this whole process is even worse – how will our managers cope with out us?! Here are my top tips for stress free annual leave.

1. Give your manager plenty of notice

As soon as you know you want time off, obviously ask your manager but also keep reminding them it is coming up. Remember to put a note in their diary and during catch up meetings do check if any tasks can be completed in advance of your holiday.

2. Delegate work

Delegate work to another member of staff if you can. Otherwise ask one of your assistant colleagues to cover your work and look after your manager while you are out of the office. Offer to do the same for them. Knowing someone is looking after your manager while you are away really is a blessing.

3. Write a detailed ‘out of office’ message

If you do have a member of staff covering your work write their details on your out of office. Also include the dates you are away and when you plan to be back. Add that you do not have access to emails and the message will not be forwarded on.

4. Set up your voicemail

It is so annoying when a colleague forgets to set their voicemail and the phone rings and rings. Again set a detailed voicemail message or divert your phone to the person covering your role.

5. Schedule your social media

If you manage social media for your organisation it is possible to schedule future posts on Hootsuite. If you have any regular emails or communications investigate the possibility of scheduling those too.

6. Notify everyone

Let as many people know about your annual leave as you can – not just to gloat! Always let your manager’s direct reports know that you are out of the office and any other team member. Do any of your clients or Executive team need to know? You should also send a note to the other assistants in your organisation.

7. Make some notes for your return

Depending on how long your annual leave is (or how much you relax), on your return to the office you may forget what you have been doing or what needs urgent attention. Write yourself a reminders for your return to the office.

8. Tidy your desk

It is better to return to a nice clean desk but it will also deter colleagues messing it up and leaving work on your desk while you are away!

9. Work through a to-do list

This is particularly important in the last week before your annual leave. Have a separate to do list for everything that really does need to be finished before you leave the office.

10. Turn off your laptop and phone!

For a truly stress free and relaxed holiday put down your laptop and phone and pick up a book instead!