July is a big month for holidays. There is Independence Day, of course. Many of our colleagues around the globe have their own celebrations too: Canada Day, Bastille Day, Ivan Kupala Day. And to capture the full polycentric nature of the month, July 11 is World Population Day.
And then there are the Hallmark holidays that July brings: Friendship Day, Moon Day, Cow Appreciation Day. There’s even a National Spinach Day followed, naturally, by National Ice Cream Day. Personally, I’m looking forward to July 13: Barbershop Music Appreciation Day.
All these holidays give us a great excuse to go on, well, holiday. But as we look forward to hitting the beach, the lake, or whatever destination you choose, let’s remember that life goes on back at the office. Clients, adversaries, and courts don’t necessarily share (or respect) our vacation schedules.
So before loading up the Family Truckster and heading out to Wally World, make sure you do the following:
*Check email and voicemail. Unless your vacation spot is the North Pole or you otherwise have no connectivity, check your email and voicemail at least a couple of times a day.
*Have an appropriate out-of-office auto response. If you will be completely offline or will be delayed in responding, make that clear. You should also change your outgoing voicemail message.
* Make sure someone on your team is on point. Whether it’s a client call or a motion that gets served, ensure that someone with knowledge of the matter is poised to deal with any issue arises (and not just put things off til you return).
*Inform your clients. While you need not give out your itinerary, clients will appreciate knowing in advance that you will be unavailable and knowing who to contact in your absence. And if you tell them where you are going, they might even have good restaurant recommendations.
*Make sure someone is checking your regular mail for important correspondence. Yes, some people still use mail. Don’t let an unopened notice or letter with a seven-day deadline for responding sit on your desk unopened.
*Bring plenty of sunblock.
Once you’ve taken these steps, feel free to enjoy your Independence Day, National Chocolate Day, or Lollipop Day. Or Green Day.