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Out of Office, Not Mind

Sometimes, as much as we love our jobs, and as much as we try to be fully present in the moment when we’re at work, sometimes we have to leave the office. In a perfect world, everything we need to and want to do outside of work could happen outside of work hours or on the weekends, but that isn’t always the case. Whether it’s a doctor’s appointment, PTO, vacation, or picking up our kids, it can be stressful, especially if we know there’s still work on our desks. And coming back to a new pile of work, that grew while we were gone, can sometimes create enough stress to cast a shadow on leaving in the first place. But there are ways to manage that stress and take the time that we need for ourselves. Here are three tips that work for us that might make leaving the office easier. 


1. Spread the Word 

Establish when we’re leaving and coming back on the company calendar as far in advance as possible. Things pop up at the last minute, and everybody knows that, but if we want to take a vacation with our hard-earned days off, it’s a good courtesy to make sure everyone knows. 

How it helps: 

By letting everyone know in advance what our plans are, our coworkers can make their own plans around our absences. This way, the workflow can go on with as little disruption as possible, and our peers can decide whether to give us work before we go or hold onto it until after our return. 


2. Schedule 

While we’re putting our beach trip on the schedule, we can also take our time to sketch out a work regimen for ourselves before we leave with due dates and times for all tasks, projects, and deliverables that should be done by the time we leave. If we don’t know what needs to be done, we can ask our supervisors for help prioritizing. And before we leave is a good time to make a solid plan for what we'll do after we get back! 

How it helps: 

By getting our priorities in order, we can give ourselves peace of mind while out of the office, knowing our work is done, or at the very least, scheduled. Our coworkers also have the peace of mind knowing that the work they need from us is either done or scheduled, and they don't have to hold on to work to drop on our desks as soon as we return. 


3. Ask for Help 

Sometimes work needs to be done that we don’t have the time to do before we go. One great benefit of building camaraderie among a team at the office is that we can help each other! Don’t be afraid to ask a coworker for some assistance. We should be sure to carefully consider who we ask, of course, as we don’t want to add additional stress to an already overwhelmed colleague. 

How it helps: 

Beyond just making sure our work is finished up on time, taking the time to ask our coworkers for help can be a great trust-builder. It might strengthen lines of communication, too, but demonstrating that we trust our peers enough to ask for their help on our work can go a very long way to building positive employee relationships. 


Time off is important. Everyone needs a little time every so often to relax and recover, and there’s plenty of other things that often make it so we aren’t sitting at our desks 9-5 every weekday. But work is still there, even when we’re not. Hopefully you've found something useful in these tips that can help you have peace of mind when you’re out of the office. 



Topics: Sinikka Waugh, Communication & Collaboration

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!








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