‘Tis the season. The weather is warm, schools are out, and people are packing up and heading for the beach, barbecues, and their favorite summer vacation destinations. This is the time of year when many people take long weekends, work “summer” hours, and take time off. So what does this mean for the project manager managing projects with an “on vacation” staff? Project management and projects don’t take summer vacation.
This isn’t to say people can’t take vacation or time off, it’s just about managing work loads and projects while staff is out so that deadlines and requirements are still met and so that one person doesn’t get stuck with the work load for the entire team. Here are some tips on how to manage work during the vacation season:
Plan Vacation Schedules. This may seem like micromanagement, but if approached the right way, then it will not be conceived that way. Each team member should take turns taking time off and covering for another team member. It is his or her responsibility to find available coverage and keep that person up to date with project statuses.
In addition, by planning vacation schedules in advance, it will allow a little flexibility when scheduling. That way project managers know in advance when a team member will be available to manage a project with a specific deadline from start to finish.
Teams can come with up with their own ways to communicate schedules with one another. This could include sharing and updating a calendar, keeping a log or spreadsheet keeping track of who is out when, or even a manual system that tracks all time off requests.
Communicate Holiday Schedules. In addition to planning vacation and holiday schedules internally, project managers should also communicate them to clients and vendors as well. This is especially important for those international clients who may operate on different holiday schedules.
By taking the initiative and communicating holiday schedules to clients, it will keep them in the loop so they aren’t suddenly alarmed when they receive your out of office message or that your office is suddenly closed. Making them aware ahead of time will help them plan accordingly should they need to reach your or your team for anything.
Keep a company or organization holiday schedule nearby or easily accessible at all times so everyone is in the loop with company holidays so they can alert with customers and vendors as well.
Whether your office is closed for a day or two due to holidays or you or a team member is out for a week, everyone should be privy to vacation schedules. This will help teams function more efficiently and keep projects up to date and on track while team members are out. It’s important to remember that while this time of year is the time for fun in the sun, projects don’t take vacations…and neither does project management. Plan smart, so you can really forget about work and enjoy!