While you were out...

From time to time, your direct report or colleague will take extended time away from work. It could be a parental leave or a sabbatical or an extended time off to take care of personal things. Whatever the reason, when they come back, they are going to be overwhelmed by the thousands of Slack and email notifications that they have missed while they were away.

I will be spending the next 2-3 days catching up on all the messages that I missed while I was out, so I will be slow to respond.

It’s common to find a Slack message like this from someone who has just returned. 2-3 days is a long time for getting all the context back, and almost always starts from not knowing where to start.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Do your returning colleague or direct report a huge favor, reduce their anxiety and get them caught up and productive again quickly. When they come back from their time away, have a short While You Were Out report ready for them. This report should capture all the important stuff that happened while they were out. They will gain all the relevant context quickly and will thank you from the bottom of their heart.

Here are some tips for writing such a report:

While I have seen multiple formats, I use the 3Ps (People, Projects, Processes) format when I am compiling such a report for someone. Each P is a section with bullets with each bullet capturing something relevant/noteworthy.

Tags: #tips, #management