With the holiday season fast approaching we’re all busy planning our own vacation. We’re all looking forward to a couple of weeks of well-deserved peace and quiet, far away from work and all the fuss around it. Fortunately not everyone is going on vacation at the same time. Even in our absence the world keeps on spinning around. If we’re lucky not as fast as usual but still, the pile of work keeps on growing when we’re gone. Files, emails, questions from costumers, projects, reports and much more are waiting for our -fully recharged- return. How can we avoid having to plan a new holiday to recover from getting back on track?
By using some of the standard tools, combined with some SharePoint and Skype for Business possibilities, you can already get ahead on track, doesn’t that sound interesting? Here are some of our own tips to minimize the amount of work that will be waiting for you:
TIP 1: Make smart use of your out-of-office
The out-of-office function is a standard part of Microsoft Outlook. During a certain period, it automatically sends a message to anyone who wrote you an email. In this message you can explain how long you’ll be unavailable, perhaps why and who they can contact in your absence. Make sure this message is written in all the relevant languages so all of your contacts can understand it.
Having an out-out-of-office message that is well set up will make sure your contacts won’t send you as many emails during your vacation, they will be informed why you can’t answer them right away and how they can be helped by one of your colleagues in case of an emergency. So this means less emails for you and less work to catch up with.
TIP 2: Inform your customers and colleagues correctly and well in time
This might sound obvious, but is often forgotten. Inform your clients and colleagues personally by emailing or giving them a call to discuss the situation. It also gives you the time to inform your contact how he can be helped during your absence. If you’re lucky, the project or task can be postponed till your return. People appreciate it when they are contacted in person and you’ll be surprised how this will provide you with more good-will from their side as well.
TIP 3: Help your colleagues during their vacation
Your colleagues also like to go on holiday of course. They are also facing the same issues with a growing pile of work. It’s guaranteed that when you help them during their absence, they’ll do the same for you.
TIP 4: Automate your workflows
Thanks to SharePoint you can automate many business processes. Approvals are automatically requested at the right (available) person, questions from costumers are automatically answered and channeled or the right department is informed at certain occasions. During the whole year tasks are taken care of faster and more efficient so this works during your holidays as well. Moreover, you can set up the workflows so they take the availability of your coworkers into account. SharePoint knows, thanks to your out-of-office, that you’re not reachable and will channel the work to the right person next in line. Get inspired about this way of working and the advantages of SharePoint in one of our free inspiration sessions.
TIP 5: Make use of the self-service portal as much as possible
You can’t imagine not having self-service portals anymore. Taxes, accounting, travel, internet services, telephone subscriptions, groceries,… you can manage nearly everything on a online platform. There probably are a serie of actions and tasks your colleagues and costumers can handle themselves providing them one of those portals, whether you’re in the office or not. If your contact can do it himself, that’s one thing less you’ll have to take care of at your return.
TIP 6: Use smart ‘bots’ that can do your work for you
Bots are preprogrammed contacts in your Skype for Business contact list. These ‘robots’ are available 24/7 and can help your costumers and colleagues if necessary. They can get their information from within the whole company which allows you to ask them anything. Outstanding invoices, received payments, current projects, status updates, KPI follow up, reports,… the bot knows and can do it all. Even if there’s something he can’t handle himself, he’ll guide you to the right person or department, taking their (un)availability into account. Do you want to know more about the endless possibilities? Read our blogpost about CEBP.