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Best Practice: Setting your OOO (Out of Office)

TLDR: Taking time off is essential for both focus at work and well-being. We want you to make the most out of your time out of the office. Our flexible time-off policy Below are tips and templates you can use to ensure you can unplug and feel comfortable taking a well-deserved break.

Tactical tips:

  • Set an OOO message in your Gmail inbox if you have an external-facing role. The content team often shares on-brand out of office messages if you don't feel like writing your own

  • Block OOO on your Gmail calendar to decline all meetings automatically and make others aware that you won't be attending

  • Set your slack status as away (perhaps including your return date and the team/channel to reach out to in your absence)

  • If you use Clockwise and have connected Clockwise to Slack, turn off Clockwise updates so your custom Slack message appears vs. the generic clockwise OOO if you so chose.

  • Set yourself as away in Asana so that folks you are collaborating with on projects are aware of your absence. You can do so by clicking on your account at the top right of your screen (a circle with your initials or your photo if you've added one), selecting "My Settings," then "Show me as away." It allows you to specify the dates you are OOO.

Operational tips:

  • For pre-planned OOO: Use this OOO Template: Art Vandelay Coverage Plan to communicate with your team about who's covering what in your absence/escalation procedures.

    • Pro-tip: Consider reassigning your asana tasks for the time you'll be OOO

  • For spontaneous OOO (i.e. the weather is gorge and my dog is cute): Make sure your team is feeling supported/you have coverage for pressing things and follow the tactical procedures above (Slack status around who to go to for what will be helpful here).

Things to keep in mind:

  • Respect your own status and time off. We're all better when we're rested and recharged with intention.

  • Model behavior for teammates. Be the change you want to see in your PTO and recognize that your actions set an example. If you're responsive whilst you're OOO, that implicitly signals to others that that's an expectation

  • 9 times out of 10, work can wait until you're back in the office. This is especially true because you've set your teammates up for success by explicitly communicating the coverage and escalation plan. For the times when you feel work can't wait, be explicit with your team (and yourself) about how and why you'd be contacted.

  • Trust your team and trust in your relationships -- your team wants to support you, so let them. Don't try to go it alone.

  • Fact: We're addicted to notifications and checking them/wanting to understand what's in your inbox can be reflexive. If it's too tempting for you to check slack/see your messages pile up, consider deleting Slack from your phone and or changing your email notifications to be on pull rather than push. Check out how to change notifications in How Guru uses Slack

  • If you simply can't delete or feel you need to check your Slack/Email, set up Slack sections and Gmail folders based on your priorities to distinguish the types of messages you'll check.

Here's a great example of how our ops Team communicates their OOO.

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