Holiday handover cheat sheet

Our always connected lifestyles make it ever more difficult to ‘switch off’ when we take annual leave. We fear being separated from our emails, social media, our peers, colleagues, the news even. So much so that there has been a word coined to define the fear of being separated from our mobile phones: ‘nomophobia’ (no-mobile-phobia)!

That’s how ingrained our phones are in our lives!

Productivity, resilience and innovation are three of the many business benefits that can be brought about by employees really switching off during their time off.

To enable you to encourage this in your workplace this August and beyond, while ensuring the business is 100% supported, here’s our Holiday Handover Cheat Sheet:

#1 Be proactive

Ensure employees do the prep! Switching off is of course going to be difficult if priority tasks haven’t been put in the care of someone else. Try and set the habit of your employees always preparing a handover before they go on annual leave. Whether it’s a day’s leave or two weeks leave, ensure a handover is done on every occasion to set the habit and allow people to properly enjoy their holiday.

#2 Know your people

Some people would rather have a mid-holiday check-in call than go for an extended period of time with zero-contact. It can ease anxiety for some and help them enjoy their holiday more. If this is the case, encourage them to get a time and agenda in the diary and make sure it happens at the scheduled time. There is no point in having annual leave if it encourages stress, so know your people and make arrangements that work for them.

#3 Be realistic

If you know in advance that may need to call on an employee while they are away, make them aware of it and of course, check they are okay with it. Schedule a mini-catch up at a reasonable and convenient time and try to set the agenda in advance so you don’t wander off topic and end upon the phone for hours!

#4 Ensure accountability

On the manager and team’s part, as well as the individuals.

The Leader/Manager – accountable for encouraging switching off when employees take annual leave and making a conscious effort to not contact them (unless agreed and scheduled)

The Team – to deliver on the responsibilities they have taken on to support the business in their colleague’s absence and to not take on too much.

The Individual – to lead an effective handover

#5 No surprises

Make sure you or your employees don’t just dump a load of work on someone else at the last minute. That’s not fair on anyone! Likewise, if there is potentially something that may come up in addition or a client call you’d like them to handle – tell them! Don’t avoid it and hope everything will be okay. Give them the heads up so they can do the best job for you whilst you’re away.

#6 Book in advance

Whilst it’s not always possible (last minute deals can be too good to miss!), encourage booking annual leave in advance. In doing this, we can all be better prepared in the lead up.

#7 Don’t dread the return!

When we’re winding down before a holiday it can be tempting to procrastinate and leave those challenging, annoying or simply boring tasks until our return. The last thing we want is for employees to struggle to enjoy their holiday because they are dreading the return to work! The lesson: ensure the important things are done before the holiday begins.

What approaches do you take in your workplace to ensure people really take a holiday? What would you add to our cheat sheet? Comment below…