Slaying the summer juggle

Tips for comms teams to manage work during vacation season

I’m on vacation number two of the summer and yes, it’s only while on PTO that I can find a shred of time for my personal writing, it seems, but I know I am very fortunate to take two breaks like this. From Toronto, I put the finishing touches on this post, inspired when I got back from Portugal last month. The team seems to be surviving while I am away, and we can credit that to the mindful, conscientious, and responsive players we have in addition to the processes in place. 

Setting your team players up for success involves common-sense (but often overlooked) tactics and follow-through. 

Marketing and communications work can be unpredictable and easily take on 24-7 urgency if stakeholder expectations are not well managed. For those working in this space, time off for a bit of relaxation, exploration, and rejuvenation is especially critical and essential to creativity. Data shows that time off supports innovation and enhanced productivity for the longer term. 

Team leaders can help ensure their staff can unplug and take well-deserved vacations while maintaining overall team productivity and seamless workflow by prioritizing open communication and collaboration all year round. 

Here are some practical tips for effectively managing workloads and maintaining efficiency throughout the summer vacation season.

  1. Plan ahead and share: Encourage team members to calendar their vacation plans well in advance, allowing ample time for adjustments and workload redistribution. By knowing who will be out and when, you can strategically plan project timelines, deadlines, and client deliverables. Clear and transparent communication within the team ensures everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities during absences. If your team is not using a project management tool like Microsoft Planner, a project management app in Google Workspacemonday.comAsana, or something like that yet, it’s time. 
  2. Cross-train and delegate responsibilities: Promote a culture of cross-training and skill-sharing within your team. Encourage team members to develop a diverse skill set, allowing them to step in for their colleagues during vacation periods. Not everyone needs to be an expert in all things, but baseline competence across a range of typical communications-related tasks such as web editing and simple graphic design is key. By sharing knowledge and delegating responsibilities, you can ensure that work continues smoothly, even when team members who normally do the heavy lifting in some areas are away. Foster a collaborative environment that values shared competency and a commitment to quality, enabling seamless transitions between team members.
  3. Prioritize and set realistic expectations: Setting realistic expectations helps manage workloads effectively, ensuring that essential work is completed while allowing flexibility for team members taking time off. Identify critical projects and assignments that must be completed during the summer period and stagger those that have longer lead times accordingly. As always, communicate clear timelines and deliverables to stakeholders and stay accountable.
  4. Leverage technology and automation: Embrace tools that simplify and centralize information, allowing team members to access relevant resources easily and communicate in real time. Project management and tracking applications, info sharing platforms, and automation tools facilitate collaboration and smooth, efficient workflows all year round. Ensuring your team is up to speed when all hands are on deck will make it easier to keeping things running during vacation season with rotating staff members out of the office. Canva is a well-known platform that has democratized the ability to execute passable graphic design. It’s fast and easy for skilled graphic designers to set up branding kits templates that non-designers can edit on the fly when filling in.
  5. Encourage work-life balance and rest: While it’s important to maintain productivity, managers can help their teams prioritize work-life balance and encourage relaxation and recharging during set vacation times. Recognizing that everyone needs time off to relax and rejuvenate, managers can help ensure that team members have adequate coverage during their absence, empowering them to disconnect and truly enjoy their time away. A well-rested and refreshed team will return with renewed energy and creativity, ready to tackle upcoming projects.

The summer vacation season can be a challenge for marketing and communication teams when it comes to managing workloads, but with thoughtful planning, effective communication, and smart resource allocation, it can also present an opportunity for growth and perfecting seamless collaboration that will serve the team well any time. 

With smart tactics baked in to your day-to-day operations, your team can skillfully navigate the summer juggle while moving forward its objectives, increasing camaraderie and capacity for the longer term, as well.