Responsibilities While the Boss is Traveling

By | Oct 27, 2008

What are an assistant’s responsibilities while the boss is traveling, especially if she is traveling internationally?

Your responsibilities are going to vary depending on your boss.  It’s a good idea to talk to you boss before she travels to get an idea of what she expects.    The main question to answer is whether she wants you available the hours she’s working, or wants you to be available during normal business hours to attend to issues while she’s away.

In my experience, most of the time the boss counts on you being available during normal business hours in the office to stay on top of things there and to keep her notified if something urgent comes up.  I had one boss who traveled extensively to Europe and Asia.  While he was traveling, he expected me to vet issues that came up and decide if it could wait until he returned or if it needed to be handled immediately.  He also trusted me to defer to one of his Directors any issues that didn’t need his personal attention. 

Generally if my boss needed urgent work done creating or modifying presentations or handouts while travelling, he used someone in the local office or did the work himself.   Only a handful of times did he need to call me at night for an urgent issue that needed to be done from my end, usually because he needed file that was on his PC in the office (and he got my usual lecture about keeping files on the network so they are accessible away from the office).

So, here’s some questions to ask your boss before she leaves on a trip:

  1. Should you work normal hours or follow her schedule?
  2. Are any urgent issues pending that she wants to know about when they happen, even if she’s asleep at the time?
  3. What types of issues can be deferred and what ones should be held for her return?

Let’s hear from some of the more experienced admins out there?  How do you usually handle things when your boss is traveling?

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