It’s that time of year again, time to think about going on vacation or maybe you’re planning your trip to Dreamforce. Admins are human too – we get sick, want to spend time with our families, have medical issues, or just need to be away from the office for a period of time.
But, if you’re like most Admins, you might worry about your org or your users while you’re away. You don’t want your users to feel lost or struggle with simple tasks. And if you’re on a fun vacation, you almost certainly do not want people calling you asking what the pipeline looks like!
With that in mind, I’ve put together this Admin “Out of Office” checklist. These are some things you can do before you leave that hopefully allow your users and org to run smoothly while you are away.
1. Notify People and Set Up Email Auto-Reply
If you have a large org, you probably don’t need to tell everyone, maybe just stakeholders and power users, but if it’s small, you could email your team, or do a Slack alert – something to let everyone know that you will be out, and that any change or help requests will be addressed when you return. If you have an email alias for Salesforce Admin, make sure that someone is added to the alias who will be available, or can check the email box. Here’s a sample auto-reply:
2. Salesforce Releases
Check to see if there are any major Salesforce releases happening while you are out. If so, let your team know the date and time, and any changes they should be aware of.
3. Pause Major Changes Before Leaving
The last thing you want to do is to turn on a new validation rule that is impactful to your users, and then skip town. That’s assuming you’re not a vindictive person, of course!
One week is probably a good buffer, but you can decide what works for you. What’s important is that there are no new changes, processes, or rules that your users would get confused or stuck on, and need to call you for help. All error messages should be explicit, and direct the user on exactly how to resolve the issue. Use any feedback from your users to improve your error messages. Bonus: this will help reduce the amount of day-to-day issues you have to deal with!
|Bad Error Message||Good Error Message|
|This is a duplicate.||This Lead’s Email Address already exists on another Lead. Please use the existing Lead Record, rather than creating a duplicate.|
4. How to Get Help, If Needed
Even if you do everything in your power to keep things smooth while you’re out, things can still go wrong.
Create a “help” guide specific for your org, either as a document/PDF, and/or use “In-App Guidance” on the appropriate pages in Salesforce. Be sure to include information on how to contact Salesforce support (directions to create a case or find articles) or who to contact within your org that can help. If you have a junior admin, or even super users who are really good at reports, you can add their contact information here.
Another thing is to make sure your team knows how to use Salesforce Status and what instance you are on. This is an easy way that anyone can see if Salesforce itself is down, experiencing slowness, or if the trouble is more likely specific to a user or org.
Even if you’re exclusively the Salesforce Admin, chances are that you’re connected to at least one other system: Marketo, Hubspot, LinkedIn SalesNavigator, Outreach.io, ZoomInfo, etc.
Make sure your integration documentation is easily available, as well as support contact information for each one of those systems. Integrated Systems often create error alert emails, or have their own internal error logs. In many cases, you can actually see the specific Salesforce error message in the 3rd party system. The designated admin should have access to any error emails, and know how to view and resolve error messages from integrated systems.
6. Adding, Removing, and Freezing Users
Train someone to manage internal users, that way if there are any new hires, terminations, or users that need to be frozen, it can happen in a timely manner. Nothing is more frustrating than a new hire who can’t actually do any work, or a terminated employee who still has access to your data!
If you don’t know in advance about new hires or terminations, reach out to your HR or whoever manages that for your company. They might be able to prepare you, or at least, let you know that there will be some changes on a certain date.
7. Assignment Rules
If you have any records that get auto-assigned to you and need immediate attention, make sure you have delegated someone to find those records and take the action. This might be as simple as creating a report to cover a few days, or actually updating the assignment rules to the other person or queue for an extended period of time.
8. Approval Process/Delegated Approver
The same applies for approving records. Depending on the urgency of what is being approved and the length of time you will be out, if you are listed as the approver, you may need to set up a delegated approver instead, or update the rules.
9. Reports and Dashboards
I’ve left this category somewhat vague, as your needs here could vary a lot. Make sure your report and dashboard schedules are updated for the period of time you will be out. If you normally participate in any Sales Pipeline Dashboard Review meetings, make sure the team members will receive (and understand how to read) the dashboard while you’re away.
10. Unique Company Needs
Salesforce Admins (especially solo admins) are often mixed in with other jobs. Maybe Sales or Marketing Operations, maybe Business Analyst, maybe even customer support or IT. Make sure any unique company needs, processes, rules, or procedures are covered while you are out. If you do any weekly review tasks for example, make sure you delegate someone to do that while you’re gone.
In a perfect world, there would be no solo-admins, and we’d all feel confident that our company has a sufficiently trained backup person. But alas, this is not a perfect world, and we are imperfect human beings.
Murphy’s Law says, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This doesn’t mean that you should never go on vacation or take a sick day. All it means is that preparation and understanding are key. Preparation on your side, as the Administrator, and understanding from your users side.
And please, please, use your vacation time! If you work in the United States, you probably get very little to begin with. Remember: a well rested Admin is a good Admin. If you need to spend a week on a beach, or take some time off to learn new skills that will benefit your company, you should do so! By preparing your org and your users in advance, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re abandoning them, or neglecting your job.
I hope this helps you all, and encourages you to use up your time off if you can!