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What do I need to do before I leave the office for Christmas?

What do I need to do before I leave the office for Christmas?
Make sure you are prepared for Christmas by following these handy hints

Our Helpdesk Co-ordinator, Mike Newman, takes us through a few tips for what to remember if you're shutting down the office for Christmas.

Tis the lunchtime before Christmas and all through the office there is panic and confusion as the boss shouts go home to your families or come to the pub!

But WAIT! What about my files? Will they be safe through the long winter nights till I return? What if someone tries to email me, how will they know where I am? Fear not, follow this simple list and all will be well.

The first thing to make sure is that everyone knows you will be away. You could do this by sending all your contacts an email telling them where you are and when you will be back. However if your company is using Microsoft Exchange for email you can set the Out of Office Assistant. This feature automatically sends a message to anyone who emails you. To activate it open ‘Outlook’ and click on ‘Out of Office Assistant’ in the ‘Tools’ menu. If you are using Outlook 2010 the feature is called ‘Automatic Replies’ and can found by clicking ‘File’ and ‘Info’.  Click the button next to ‘I am currently Out of the Office’ and add a message in the box. Just remember when you get back in the New Year to turn it off again by clicking the ‘I am currently In the Office’ button. 

 So now you have let everyone know you are away, what about that big project you are working on, will it be safe? To make sure we recommend that it should be backed up every day. If you have a chat with your IT department they will be able to tell you if it is or not. Still worried? Wondering what will happen to the deadlines if you can’t get into the office in the New Year because you’re snowed in? Simply copy the files to a USB drive and take them with you, but make sure you check your company’s confidentiality and data handling policies first. If you are concerned about someone else reading the data on your USB drive you could encrypt it. We recommend using True Crypt, which is free piece of software available from their website.

If you are worried about those January deadlines and making it back to the office through the arctic conditions check out our article How to connect to your work network from outside the office and speak to your IT department to get any information you need.

So finally you are ready to leave. Don’t forget on your way out to shut down your PC, turn off your monitors, pick up your phone, grab your laptop and turn off the lights.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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