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Photo caption: Wikipedia

Photo caption: Wikipedia

For whatever reason, it has always been a dream of mine to go to Africa. I’m not exactly sure what started this dream, but I know it’s been in the back of my mind for a long time.

I’ve watched my dad go on trips to Nairobi, Kenya multiple times, and each trip I get more and more jealous of the pictures and stories from his experiences.

So, this spring, when I saw a video in church about a summer trip to Kenya, I knew I had to be on it. What I didn’t know then, was that I’d end up accepting a full-time job starting in May.

Luckily, I interviewed with an amazing company (shameless plug) and they told me I could still have the job and take my trip! Whew! My dream was finally going to be a reality.

As the trip got closer and closer, a panic set in of all the work I had to do before I left in order to make sure no one was stranded with my load and we didn’t get behind on client work. For anyone taking a trip with little access to email or internet, this is a common dilemma. Like Abbie talked about, summer can often be used as a reset point to recharge and unplugging can be a huge part of that.

But, in order to unplug, you have to prepare !

Here are a few tips for preparing to be out of the office:

  • Meet with your team in advance. I recommend meeting with your team a week or two in advance to see what work needs to be done and approved before you leave. If you wait until the last minute, you won’t have time to accomplish everything on the checklist.
  • Create a to-do list for the days leading up to your trip. In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for a major trip, it is easy to forget a simple task such as setting an email away message. If you create a running to-do list, it will keep you focused on everything you need to do.
  • Schedule follow-up meetings with your team. Before you leave, set up meetings with each member of your team to update them on the status of your projects. If they know exactly where you left everything, they’ll be equipped and enabled to handle anything that comes up while you’re gone.

If you keep these steps in mind, you’ll be able to successfully unplug, recharge and get the most from your out of office experience.

America, I’ll see you in two weeks!

Caelen Tallant
Caelen Tallant
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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