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How to manage your team vacation calendar

Improve team effectiveness and enjoy your time off

Vacation time and unlimited PTO — they’re meant to be something to look forward to. So why are they so often the source of team stress, anxiety, and dread?

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed about handing off your work before you hit the road, stressed about catching up when you get back, or anxious when another teammate marks OOO on their calendar, you’re not alone. Managing team vacation calendars can be challenging — especially during common vacation seasons when at least one person (probably more) will be out at any given time. If teammates go weeks without overlapping, it can slow projects down and cause burnout.

Vacation time and unlimited PTO aren’t the real culprits here though. (In fact, your employees are likely happier, healthier, and more productive because of them.) The problem typically comes from gaps in communication caused by teams over-relying on meetings. When meetings are the only way to share information, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks when teammates head OOO.

But meetings don’t have to be the only way. Range helps teams strengthen asynchronous communication for smoother hand-offs for when folks go on vacation and clear visibility into what’s happened when they get back.

Check-ins give everyone on the team a clear line of sight into in-flight projects and who’s working on what. They’re structured, and can be organized by project or initiative, so it’s easy to find and catch-up on updates after the fact. Folks in the office gain clear visibility into the status of any vacation-ers workflow and folks who are OOO can quickly catch up on what they missed when they’re back.

In this article, we’ll cover how to:

  1. Strengthen async communication with Check-ins
  2. Document discussions and decisions with the meeting tool
  3. Take some time off, you deserve it :)
  4. Improve visibility (and vacation, uninterrupted) by setting OOO
  5. Catch up on what you missed with Check-in summaries

1. Strengthen async communication with Check-ins

Problems with managing team vacation happen when folks don’t know what each other is working on and project status is unclear, so the first step in solving for them is better documentation through asynchronous communication.

Async communication, like Check-ins, ensures that project updates are always put in writing so that anyone can find, read, and reference them later on. With Check-ins, it’s easier for everyone to keep track of the latest updates — whether the project leader is OOO at the moment or a teammate’s just getting back from vacay and wants to get up to speed fast.

Get your team started with Check-ins

Try these tips to help OOO hand-offs go even more smoothly:

  • Link your tools to provide more context: Range integrations connect to tools likes Asana, Jira, GitHub, Google Docs, and more to pull helpful context and rich documentation directly into each Check-in update. (All without jumping between tabs.) You can add links back to project roadmaps, key discussions, and other supporting documentation so folks supporting the work or catching up on it have everything they need to dive in.
  • Use #tags and [flags] to surface what’s important: #Tags and [flags] provide structure to Check-in updates so that it’s easy to find or surface important information. With #tags, you can group tasks by project, workstream, or initiative and then follow along with those most relevant to you. This is especially helpful when you’re coming back from vacation and want to get up to speed on updates specific to your work fast. [Flags] help you surface important information to your manager or teammates — like blockers, tasks you’d like coverage on, or items that need feedback.
  • Share weekly updates on team goals and initiatives: Working on a broader initiative or team-wide objective? Get in the habit of sharing weekly Goals updates. It’ll make it easier to track progress towards team goals over time and give folks who’ve been OOO a clear place to go for an overview when they get back.

Tip: Going OOO? Consider writing a quick status summary for your top priorities before you head out and then #tag it to the proper project, initiative, or goal so it’s easy for the team to know where to go if they have questions while you’re out.

2. Document discussions and decisions with the meeting tool

Clear, detailed meeting documentation helps folks who’ve been on vacation keep track of the latest team decisions and fall back in sync with the rest of the team when they’re back.

When you facilitate your meeting through Range, you can automatically share notes and action items afterwards over email and Slack, making it easy to keep everyone informed even if they aren’t able to attend in person.

Learn more about using Range for meetings

3. Take some time off, you deserve it 🌴

Taking time off is important for you and your team. It helps improve mental health and prevent burnout — not to mention, it’s fun! Plus, when the team takes time off, everyone has more bandwidth to be productive when they are working. If you’re a leader, it’s your role both to encourage your team to take time off and role model that it’s okay by doing it yourself.

4. Improve visibility (and vacation, uninterrupted) by setting OOO

When you’re planning to be out of the office, you can set OOO dates in Range — just like you would on your calendar. Marking OOO on your calendar is a helpful best practice that gives folks on the team an all-up view of who will be out at any given time. Marking OOO in Range adds another benefit, since it reminds your teammates on the day of.

To set your vacation calendar dates go to Settings > Absences. You can select the dates you’ll be out, add a label (like ‘OOO’ or ‘Meditation retreat’) and include a description if you’d like, too.

This will let your teammates know you’ll be gone and stop you from receiving any pings or notifications during your dedicated time off.

Tip: If you connect your team's calendar app to Range, absences can be automatically created for you in Range. Read more here

5. Catch up on what you missed with summaries and notes

When your vacation is over, Range helps you stay sane and stress-free as you integrate back into work mode.

Rather than get bogged down with every little detail that happened while you were out, Check-in summaries surface what’s most important and give you a quick, high-level view of what you missed. Summaries group information from your team’s Check-ins by week and bring themes and highlights into focus. They include an overview of how everyone felt that week, flagged items, artifacts (like project specs), and #tags from people’s Check-ins, and other highlights.

To view Check-in summaries, go to Check-ins, select the team you’d like to view from the drop-down menu, and then select ‘Summaries’. You’ll see the previous week’s summary at the top and can scroll down for past weeks’.

To catch up on past meeting notes, go to Meetings, find the meeting you’d like to read up on in the list, and click ‘View notes’.

Try it out

Vacation hand-offs and catch-up afterward shouldn’t outweigh the relaxation folks get from taking much-needed PTO. If managing your team’s vacation calendar is creating stress and strain, adopting asynchronous communication can help.

By making it easy to integrate asynchronous communication into your team’s workflow, Range helps you calm the chaos when folks head out on vacation and avoid confusion when they get back. You’ll have clear documentation, better context, and always know where to turn for answers – even if someone’s OOO.

Range helps the whole team stay in sync, even when you’re not all in the office together.

Get started with Check-ins on your team

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