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Handing Over For Holidays

02 Aug 2019

Eileen Moloney

You can't truly enjoy your holiday if you're getting constant calls from the office with queries on clients, systems and projects. To avoid this, then a successful handover to colleagues prior to taking your annual leave is vital!

The August Bank Holiday weekend is often the time that people kick off their summer holidays, taking advantage of a four-day week to gain an extra day’s annual leave. But spare a thought for those left in the office taking care of your desk and responsibilities while you’re away. Have you left them enough information to manage or have you left them up the proverbial creek without a paddle while you’re lounging on a lilo in the pool?

The importance of a thorough handover to your colleagues before you go on an annual leave cannot be emphasised enough. However, it’s also important to ensure that all information is readily accessible for those still stuck in the office. If you all work off a central database, then it’s not only polite but also best practice to ensure that all relevant information is updated on the system. From a client’s perspective, it would prove extremely irritating if not only their regular contact was on annual leave but that their colleagues weren’t able to access their information easily. The old adage of “it’s always easier to keep an existing customer than to gain a new one” still stands and clients do need to feel secure that even in your absence, there will be no interruption to their service. From your own perspective, you need to be able to relax on your holidays and not have to think about work.

Studies have also shown that people risk burnout if they are constantly on call and don’t use their annual leave effectively. It does take minimum 4-5 days to switch off from work and if you’re getting a barrage of calls from the office, then it means you’re never getting a chance to relax. So why run the risk of ruining your holiday, irritating your spouse / partner, annoying your colleagues and possibly losing a great customer if a detailed handover means a stress-free holiday for all concerned?

When handing over, remember the following points;

  • Main projects/deliverables during this time
  • Main stakeholders involved – eg clients, suppliers etc
  • Contact numbers for all involved
  • Decisions to be taken / made – your own recommendations on each
  • Priorities on tasks / projects to be done
  • If your company has implemented an automated process that could be disrupted or held up, make sure that you appoint someone in your place to check this workflow while you’re away so that everything continues to run smoothly.
  • Advise on passwords to systems if required
  • Hand over keys to safes / offices / vehicles if required

Remember it’s also a courtesy to let your clients know that you’ll be away so a quick phone call to those who you’re actively working with is well worth it. Do remember to set up your automatic “Out of Office” reply with details of who will be handling your work while you’re away as well as the expected date you’ll be back. Update your voice-mail as well so that you’re not handling any unnecessary work calls while away.

Once the hand-over is done, then don’t look back. Go and enjoy your holiday knowing your work and clients are in safe hands.  

If you feel that you or your colleagues need extra help in the office while you're on leave, then why not explore the option of taking in a temp to help with the workload. Contact Brightwater's Temporary & Contracts division for more details on (01) 6621000