Like most, I am a big fan of vacations. After months of hard work in the office and at home, an escape from the everyday is such a treat. This summer, my husband and I have traveled to the North Carolina mountains, beaches, the big city of Philadelphia, and out west to Lake Tahoe.
While I love our adventures, I admit that I worry about being away from the office. I worry about my Influencers (a fancy way to say customers who are just good friends), and my colleagues feeling “forgotten” while I’m away. I worry that I will come back from a week in the Sierras to a crisis that nobody communicated to me. I worry that I will forget one small thing that may be a really big thing for someone else. So while I do make a conscious effort to disconnect, I make sure that my people can always reach me through one of these forms of communication:
Email may be the old tried and true form of office communication; but when you’re on vacation, it is likely that you’re not set up on a secure server. If you decide to communicate via email while traveling, be sure to use our Microsoft Outlook Plugin for ShareFile to encrypt body and attachments of emails. This will keep all of your communications secure, no matter where you roam!
Access to a secure client portal allows clients to drag and drop documents 24/7 into their own personal portal instead of emailing you, asking for confirmation, and requiring a download and hard drive filing system. With a client portal, your client can access the portal, drop his or her most recent account statements securely, and ShareFile sends a notification of the new assets. Now encrypted and secure, the documents will be waiting patiently for your return.
As a former Social Media Manager, I naturally turn to Twitter or Facebook for quick communication. It’s an easy check-in, check-out conversation that can handle everything from common conversation (“Where’s the best BBQ in Austin?”) to customer care (“My download link expired!”). Let customers know that they can reach you if need be on social media, or at least follow along on your traveling adventures. They may enjoy getting to see you as an unbuttoned person outside of the office! However, there is a risk to blasting your absence from home or the office so publicly, so please proceed with discretion and caution.
Designate a proxy
This can be the easiest or toughest solution, depending on whether you have a trustworthy coworker. When I’m out of the office, I can send my coworker Caroline into important meetings on my behalf. Do you have someone that you trust with your interests and your clients’ interests at heart? Ask that person to be your proxy and speak with clients on your behalf while you are away (and be prepared to return the favor!). Via proxy, communication doesn’t stall simply because you’re away from your desk.
I often joke that the worst part of going on vacation is getting ready to go on vacation. I spent last week shoving a full work week into three business days, but it paid off – I was able to wrap up my Q2 goals, submit all outstanding work, and get on the plane to Tahoe with no looming deadlines. Finishing all remaining projects allowed me to truly disconnect and it ensured that my colleagues and clients didn’t have emergencies – and therefore, didn’t need to communicate with me while I was away! Send clients clear, concise instructions on how to reach your proxy or their client portal while you are away, in addition with details on when you will return, will help alleviate long-distance communication troubles.
What are your best tips for communicating with clients before, during, or after vacation? Let us know in the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!