Guest Post by Shanan Sorochynski
Who covers for you when you go on vacation?
I’ve asked a few people (inside and outside our organization) that question and they all had similar responses.
We’re masochists – myself included.
We do one of two things.
We either work during our holidays,
… except instead of being at the office we do it from home, the beach, the cabin, wherever it is we trick ourselves into believing we are getting away from it all…
Image: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.comvia Flickr, CC 2.0
We work longer days to make up for the time we are about to take off.
So, when our holidays come around we are so burnt out we are not really resting so much as recovering – and that’s not good for us or our organizations.
The main reason for all this (at least from the small informal survey I did) was that we would rather staple our eyelids to the back of a moving train than try and find someone to do the work for us.
We can’t imagine asking someone to take on extra work when they are struggling to keep up with what they have.
No one else knows how to do our jobs.
We can’t trust anyone to do the work as well as we do and on and on and on.
And that might all be true. But what if you don’t have a choice any more?
Our team has been told that we have to take our holidays and that we have to find someone in the office to cover for us.
It’s not the worst thing in the world to hear.
And I really only need to do a few things to comply:
1. Check in with Life Coach Tyler Durden about this whole letting go thing.
2. Give someone else in the office (other than IT) full access to the site.
3. Give that person (a realistic set of) tools to keep things afloat while I’m gone.
That third point is going to be a bit tricky.
While I don’t need anyone to work on strategy, project development or content planning while I’m out of the office, I do need them to handle the day-to-day (er, hour-to-hour) tasks involved with managing the organization’s blog.
Unfortunately, no one in the department has ever blogged…
… and only a few of them have social media experience… and that experience is limited to Facebook.
They also don’t have a lot of time to learn how to manage a blog and they need to be able to do it in addition to their own jobs.
Image: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.comvia Flickr, CC 2.0
So I need to lower my expectations a bit.
Strategy, content promotion, search engine optimization – these things are off the table.
I need to create a quick-and-dirty guide.
Here is what I have so far:
Things I need to do before I leave the office
- Give the person filling in Admin status.
- Forward blog comments to their email address.
- Schedule posts.
With any luck the person filling in won’t need to create additional posts and site visitors will follow our participation guidelines. But if that doesn’t happen the person filling in needs to know:
How to get into the guts of the site
VIDEO: WordPress Basics – Creating a post (2 minutes 12 seconds)
How to moderate comments
VIDEO: WordPress Tutorial: Approving and Editing Comments (2 minutes 59 seconds)
- DON’T delete negative comments unless they violate our participation guidelines.
- All comments are automatically approved.
- If you edit a comment (omit a word, etc.) you need to show that.
How to post to WordPress
VIDEO: How to Embed a Video in a WordPress Post (5 minutes 52 seconds)
VIDEO: How To Upload & Insert A Picture Into Your WordPress Blog Post or Page (2 minutes 59 seconds)
- No press releases.
- If the post isn’t interesting enough to email to a friend don’t post it to the site.
How to find solutions to problems not on the list!
Google knows everything.
What else should I add?
Shanan Sorochynski manages the University of Regina’s first official blog: YOURblog. Previous to this she was the managing editor of U of R Report, the University’s faculty and staff internal publication, and a print journalist in Manitoba.
[…] September 5th, 2012 | Shanan Sorochynski | 0 Comments TweetLast February I wrote a post about Taking Time Off When You Work In Social Media and recently reaped the rewards of putting that advice into […]
Just having this debate over on the Solo PR chat today. Mixed reviews on where or not you take the laptop or smartphone on your much needed, well earned vacation. It all depends on length of trip: the longer I am away, the harder it’d be to leave it all behind. I’ve already confessed to running at iMacs in Cozumel after being sequestered on a cruise ship for 5 days. ;-)
It also depends on prior planning and preparation: are projects and clients up to speed, deadlines met? I work ahead when taking a long break, moreso when unplugged. I had a guest blogger in place in my absense, have a sub I can contact for emergencies. But for me the “what if” stresses are big, so it’s easier to just bring the laptop anyway; plus I sneak in an extra workcation that way. FWIW. And not for nothing, Fight Club is one of my fave movies. “Life Coach Tyler Durden” LMAO
It’s one of my faves too. :)
PS When I did a soft launch of our organization’s official blog “Fight Club” principles kicked-in. I told 30 people that only a select few we’re being given a link to check out the site before the official launch – a lot more than that showed up. “First rule of the new blog . . . . you do not talk about the new blog.” People talked about the blog. I was a happy little space monkey.
@3HatsComm I guess I like having my phone/laptop as a backup – you never know when the feces will hit the fan – but I’ve really been trying to log off, or at least not spend the entire day online, on weekends and when I say I’m going to take time off.
What I’ve started finding is that now it becomes more difficult for me to get plugged in again… depending on how long I’ve been “off.” But I can live with that. :p
Planning is huge. HUGE HUGE HUGE!
What a timely post for me Shanan, you must have been reading my mind. My TOP priority for 2011 is to make my business less dependent on me being available 24/7/365 and I am well on my way. These are some excellent resources for WordPress as well!
The hardest part . . . at least for me anyway . . . will be to allow myself to make a clean break from the office. I’m usually plugged in to varing degrees. To go two weeks without checking email, Google Analytics, etc. etc. etc. will be a valuable thing to learn.
@Shanan For sure Shanan, I think that would be a challenge for most people. Definitely for me, in 14+ years I’ve never fully disconnected for more than a day or two, perhaps I need to add that to my list of things to do!
@hackmanj Joe, I believe National Unplugging Day or something like that is coming up soon… might be a good time to give it a try. :p @Shanan Let’s hope you survive your down time intact!
@Shonali @Shanan I like the sound of that Shonali :)
That, my dear (and I mean that in a totally professional non- belittling kind of way) is not a distraction. That is a calorie free dessert.
@barryrsilver A “calorie free dessert.” Love it.
I suggest you return to the top of your to do list and ask the following question: What would the organization do if I won (fill in your choice of obscene sum) and I gave 2 minutes notice? Structure your to do list accordingly.
@barryrsilver Good idea. But, now I’m completely distracted by what I would do with my obscene riches. :)
[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shonali Burke and Erica Buteau, Erica Buteau. Erica Buteau said: Taking Time Off When you Work in Social Media. A great post by @shonali http://tinyurl.com/6kxglpw […]