You deserve a vacation. We’re glad you realize it too. You may be alone, though. In fact, the average U.S. employee who receives vacation or paid time off only uses about half of their eligible vacation time as a result of not being able to unplug from work.
Taking off from work shouldn’t be stressful and if your company uses Slack, you have a ton of vacation scheduling hacks right at your fingertips.
With these tips, you’ll have enough time to prep your coworkers for your absence and enough time to focus on the maximum number of outfits you can fit into your suitcase. Pro tip: roll them up into little sausages.
1. First order of business: request time off of your schedule
However you process vacation requests, see if there’s a Slack App that connects the platform your company uses. At Robin, we use HR platform BambooHR. Once vacation days are requested in Bamboo, the Google Calendar app in Slack automatically connects to our #morningannouncements channel to post “Who’s Out” everyday at 8am.
Once your time off request has been approved, send a calendar invite to your team with the days you’ll be OOO. That way coworkers can reference their calendars for your return date and avoid scheduling meetings with you while you’re away.
2. Share information and set timely reminders
Before you leave the office and sink into the sand somewhere, share any important docs and files from Google Drive to important channels so coworkers have access to resources while you’re away. Be as proactive about this as possible and include anyone you’d work with on a project.
Collect all files and determine which channels are best to post in. That way Sally in the office knows exactly where to go to find a document while you’re out, no questions asked.
Set reminders for tasks and check-ins to reference once you’re back. Slack will remind you of any messages or conversations that need your attention. If anything comes up while you’re gone, coworkers can add reminders right to a running list.
More vacation prep tips:
- ⭐ Star and pin important messages for easy-access once you’re back and create a checklist for yourself or your team.
- Create a dedicated #tasks or #to-do channel as an easy way to track work with a small group of people. Once you’re back, you can look in that channel to see what was done and what still needs attention.
- Use /remind and tag yourself, a person, or a channel to send a reminder at a specific time. For example, /remind @ryan to take the pita out of the toaster every day. By typing /remind list, slackbot will show you a list of your reminders, including the completed ones.
3. Set your OOO status and turn off notifications
Let your coworkers know you’re away with a custom status. Be detailed about dates and when you’ll be back to respond. If you plan to check in while you’re on vacation, include what time of day you’ll be online. Give everyone a heads up that you won’t be available to answer questions, send notes, or share gifs. Especially the part about gifs. People deserve to know.
Turn off your notifications. Or if that’s too scary to imagine, set Do Not Disturb hours so you can completely disconnect. Coworkers will get the point with the snooze icon next to your name and Slack will leave you alone. If you’re in charge of activity within a specific channel, schedule a daily reminder for that channel that you’re Far Far Away.
- Pro tip: Use the /away and /active commands to adjust your status if you want to quickly turn off notifications and adjust what your coworkers see (i.e. a filled in circle next to your name indicating you’re online vs. an empty circle indicating you’re offline).
- If you plan to keep notifications on, mute any non-critical channels to avoid unnecessary notifications that take away from your scheduled time off.
4. Integrate the apps you already use to get the most out of your vacation time
Integrate the right apps if you haven’t already. Stay on top of projects logged in Airtable right in Slack with the Airtable integration. Make viewing your Google Calendar easy for coworkers while you’re away by adding the app. Fill yourself in on any industry-related tweets you missed with the Twitter integration.
If you’re looking for employee data, send a Polly survey out right before you leave and check the results once you’re back. Slack is stacked with tons of apps to make scheduling and organizing work simple. This is another way to ensure that all relevant information stays in one place, Slack. 👌
5. Get notified for keywords and gather your notes in one central place
Set up keyword notifications before you leave for vacation so that when you come back, you’ll be able to look through any mention of a particular word or phrase. If you’re working on a specific project or want to track a project another team is working on, you can fill in words like desks or desking software, for example, and locate any time they were used.
Have a genius thought in the shower while you’re away? To keep things organized and all in one place, you can jot down your notes in your personal Slack DM. But be careful not to get sucked into other channels. Stay strong.
With these Slack hacks, your colleagues will have everything they need in advance and you won’t have to worry about answering questions at 4pm their time, 2am your time. From Google doc files to to-do lists to calendar invites, you’ll leave feeling prepared.
But wait, there’s one more thing left to do. Go and enjoy your well-scheduled vacation. ⛱