The importance of handover before staff holiday

Jason Downes, MD of discusses how HR Managers can handover prior to taking leave

The last thing you do before a holiday (apart from setting your automatic replies to ‘Out of Office’) is your handover. And because it’s what your colleagues work off of when you’re away, it’s important to organise a smooth handover for a smooth return to work.

Before the holiday

To create a successful handover, the first thing to avoid is leaving it to the last minute. When you’re rushed with five minutes before you need to leave your workplace to make your train, you’re likely to forget the small but important details.

In the week of the lead up to your holiday, I’ve found that keeping a note – whether that’s a draft email or a note on your phone – will ensure you’ve covered everything you need for your handover. Doing it as you go, means that nothing will be missed, and will prevent you writing down more than what is necessary.

For the handover itself, I’ve found that a quick 5-10min run through is the most effective. Pointing out the action items, deadlines and point of contacts are what’s essential. There’s no need to cause an unreasonable amount of stress on the employee/s covering you whilst you’re away, so highlighting all the ‘need-to-know’ points, will help them keep on top of things.

During your holiday

Particularly when you’re doing your handover with someone that reports to you, it’s really about trust and empowerment. It gives them the opportunity to show you that whilst you’re away, things run smoothly under their management – regardless of whether they’re in a management position or not.

By trusting them to pick things up whilst you’re away, it enables them to take on more responsibility and ultimately helps you enjoy your holiday – even if it is only temporary.

When you’re an employer, there are some decisions that needs to be made, or need to be run by you. Letting your direct reports know how and when you’ll be contactable, will ensure that you’re made aware of any time sensitive tasks and approvals. Dependent on how involved you like to be with work when you’re on holiday, you could let your staff know that you’re always contactable via phone or instant message, you’ll be checking your emails a couple of times a day or working for a specific hour per day. This will help you limit the amount of communication you receive from work and separate yourself to get that much needed break.

Making sure you don’t forget to turn on your ‘Out of Office’ automatic replies are also just as important. This should include letting people know what date you return as well as who to contact in your absence.

Upon your return

It’s always good to do a quick catch up when you’re back. This will help your team update you on progress on tasks and what has happened since you’ve been gone. If you’ve detailed enough information in your handover, and remained somewhat connected during your holiday, there shouldn’t be a pile of outstanding tasks waiting for your return.

Ultimately it comes down to the individual when determining how connected you are with your work on holiday. Family should always be the upmost priority, so finding a way to limit the communication and switch off to a certain extent, will ensure that you get to enjoy your holiday and get that much needed break, with a smooth return to work.

Author: Editorial Team

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