Talent At Work: Recruitment and Career Blog

Who Will Do The Work While You’re Gone?

Posted on May 12th, by Lougie in Career Development. Comments Off on Who Will Do The Work While You’re Gone?

With summer fast approaching, almost everyone is thinking about time off work. Whether you are planning a vacation, maternity leave, or a sabbatical, the following guidelines can be helpful in determining how your company can deal with your job responsibilities while you are gone. Be sure to start the process well in advance of your leave.

1. The first step would be to create a list of all of your job duties and responsibilities. This is more than just a job description of your position. Take the time to track your day-to-day activities in point-form. (Number each task in a spreadsheet using two columns). A good way to be thorough is by recording down what you did each day — do this for at least a week. Be specific and include everything, for example: 1. Check Email, 2. Prepare Management Report, 3. Work on ABC Project, etc.

2. Second, identify the frequency in which each task is done, for example: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Project Based, Ad Hoc. (Create a 3rd column on your spreadsheet.)

3. Third, classify the importance of each task (4th column on spreadsheet). Start with the following definitions and then add your own if necessary.
a. Mission Critical – a disruption in this activity would result in a failure of business operations
b. Mission Critical Related – an activity that supports the core operations of the business
c. Revenue Generating – brings in money or saves money
d. Revenue Generating Related – supports revenue generating activities
e. Must Do
f. Nice to Do

4. Fourth, categorize each task according to their potential for delegation (5th column on spreadsheet). Do this based on your own opinion first. You may have to get consensus later from your co-workers, assistant, boss, etc. depending on how things move forward with your planning.
a. Can Delegate to assistant
b. Can Delegate to co-worker/colleague
c. Can Delegate to boss/supervisor
d. Can Delegate to someone with equivalent skills and knowledge (may not yet exist)
e. Not able to delegate at all
f. Can be put on hold.
g. To be completed prior to leave.

5. If you are a real keener, you could add a 6th column that estimates the amount of time spent in a day or week doing the task.

You should have something that looks like this:

S/N Task Frequency Importance Delegation
1 Check E-Mails Daily Mission Critical Related Can Delegate to Assistant
2 Prepare Management Report Monthly Must Do Can Delegate to Co-Worker
3 Work on ABC Project Project Based Revenue Generating Completes Next Week

Now that you have your spreadsheet organized, you can sort and view your responsibilities in a variety of ways. Are most of your responsibilities mission critical? Can a good portion of your work be put on hold? Analysis of this spreadsheet will help you:

  • Decide if you need to hire someone temporarily outside of the company. This might be the case if the large portion of your ongoing activities is mission-critical or revenue generating.
  • Prepare a training plan for assistants or co-workers.
  • Present a case to your boss.
  • Plan your time to complete projects early.
  • Decide on what you are willing and able to do while on leave.

The above process is the first step in preparing for a leave. In my opinion, it should be done even before you have scheduled time off. Maybe you can take that extra week after all.

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Marketing Consultant at Codemedia Inc
Information Technology and Marketing Consultant

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