We all like to think that we’re indispensable at work, but any business is bigger than just one person and, if led well, should continue to run seamlessly if key people are taking a break. Leaving your colleagues in the lurch isn’t cool or professional! But the secret to the success of your company running well while you’re gone is all in the preparation and planning. So, alongside the usual holiday dilemmas about what books and pairs of shorts to pack, here are our tips for preparing a holiday handover.
1. Plan in advance
This isn’t about bragging about your amazing holiday! But you should always let your work colleagues know when you plan to take a break. You should create a team holiday calendar so you know when everyone is due to be off and whether this may cause any staffing issues.
2. Identify who can cover
If you have key projects or orders to complete while you’re gone, then either speak to your manager about who can continue to progress your workload or, if you’re more senior, identify who can deputise for you. You will need to ensure whoever you ask to cover for you had the capacity to help while you’re away.
3. Check in with your clients before you go
If you have regular clients or customers, it’s wise to check in with them before you leave to let them know you won’t be available and whose capable hands you’re leaving their custom in. It would also be a good idea to add your holiday dates to your out of office messages or email footer to pre-warn people about your plans. That way, they can get in touch before you leave.
4. Arrange a handover
Once you know when you’re going to be away from work, make sure you set a meeting for a holiday handover. This could be with your deputy, an individual or a handful of people you are delegating work to. This will give you the peace of mind that you have appraised your colleagues in detail about what needs to be done in your absence and give your colleagues the opportunity to ask questions.
5. Prioritise your ‘to do’ list before you go
Tying up any loose ends before you go will help ensure you can reduce the workload you’re handing over to your colleagues. This will no doubt make you more popular because you’re not handing over an unachievable amount of tasks. Be realistic about what you can get through before your annual leave and what jobs can wait until you return.
6. Block out your calendar
To help you get through your pre-holiday ‘to do’ list then why not block out your calendar the day before you’re due to leave to help give yourself time to get everything done? You could ask your colleagues to handle any meetings and to streamline your calls and interaction with clients or customers to help give you time to prepare.
7. Put in a few extra hours
With a holiday looming, we’d of course all prefer to be planning sightseeing trips and what to squeeze into our luggage. But working an extra couple of hours before you leave, if necessary, may give you peace of mind that you won’t need to check your voicemail or emails while you’re gone.
Good luck and happy holidays!
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Written by Steve Hinton
Steve Hinton is an experienced Executive Coach and Consultant working with Chief Executives, Managing Directors, Senior Executives and other leaders and can work with you to create exceptional and successful leadership teams.
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