Summer is here,, and for the Voxus team that means long days, great Pacific Northwest weather, and everyone going on vacation. Vacation season is extra stressful for me because I’m the only person other than the program director on several of my accounts. If they’re out of the office, I need to pick up the slack. Earlier this summer, one of my supervisors was out of the country for a week and completely unreachable by phone or email. Intimidating? Definitely. But with a little bit of planning. it doesn’t have to be a terrible ordeal. Here are a few of the things I learned from the experience that will help keep you sane and your clients happy when your boss is out of the office.

Plan ahead

Make time to meet with your supervisor before he or she leaves the office, and get an updated list of everything that will need to get done while the boss is away. Make sure he or she forwards any emails, contacts, or material that you’ll need before departure.

Communicate with the client

After your supervisor tells the client that he or she will be out of office, follow up with en email or phone call saying that you’ll be the main point of contact during that time and tell the client what you plan to work on. This will reassure clients that the work will continue as usual and helps build your relationship with them – always a good thing. You don’t want them to feel as though they can’t ask for something because the normal contact person is on vacation, so make sure they are comfortable talking to you.

Regular updates

How often does your supervisor update the client? Take note of how often clients receive a call or email and continue the pattern while your boss is out. The client will get nervous if he or she suddenly stops getting regular updates, so make sure that doesn’t happen.

Budget extra time

Plan how much time you think you’ll need for your extra responsibilities, and then add more. Things will take longer than normal because some of the tasks will be unfamiliar. Let your other supervisors know that you’re covering for someone – they will understand as long as they know in advance.

Ask for help if you need it

If something is beyond your skills to handle or you have too much work to reasonably expect to get done, ask someone else for help. Don’t be too proud to ask – your co-workers will respect you for making sure that the work gets done.

Believe in yourself!

You’re an expert on your clients needs too, so act like it. Remember that demonstrating that you can handle an account without a supervisor in a productive and professional manner is a great thing to remember when it comes time for your next performance review.