37892744_sSummer is here, and many of us will be enjoying a well-earned vacation from work. But while we’re away, business will roll on. Customers will need to be served, critical systems will need to be monitored and more.

Does your organization have a vacation preparation and coverage plan? Now is a good time to put one in place. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Map out absences in advance. Keep a central calendar of all employee vacation requests. Be aware of days when absences may be high, and plan accordingly.

Review critical functions and cross train. What regular tasks will need to be completed in the employee’s absence? Document those tasks, and cross train other employees to fill in the gaps.

Update login and passwords. Review all login information for all systems and accounts managed by the employee. Verify that login information is current.

Contact key customers, vendors and suppliers. With whom does the employee engage on a regular basis? Give those customers, vendors and suppliers a heads-up a week or two in advance, and give them an alternative contact.

Identify all communication streams, and prepare accordingly. Out of office notifiers should be enabled on all email and voice mail accounts. Messages can be scheduled ahead to post to social media accounts, but a trained designated back up should monitor accounts and respond to inquiries, and should be prepared to pause campaigns or reschedule messages if necessary.

Pass the baton well. Before an absence, schedule a brief meeting to review plans. After the employee returns, plan to debrief and bring them back up to speed.