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Handing Over For The Holidays

05 Jul 2022

Emma Anglim

Leaving the office for annual leave? Make sure you do an efficient handover first!

It’s been two years of lockdowns and quarantine and the Irish workforce is bursting to get away to sunnier climes! Some lucky people unencumbered by school schedules or children’s exams have already been away but for the majority of us, summer holidays start now. But while you may be packing bags, 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 the workload or will they be drowning in work and ringing your mobile while you’re paddling in a sun-drenched pool?

Studies have 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, annoying your family/friends, frustrating your colleagues and possibly losing clients if something as simple as a detailed handover means a stress-free holiday for all concerned?

Very often, companies take on temporary staff to cover holiday leave and this year, with everyone more determined than ever to get their dose of foreign sunshine, temporary staff could be the answer to employers’ prayers. However, this means that you’re handing over to a temporary member of staff who, although experienced in hitting the ground running, may still need a little handholding prior to your departure.  The importance of a thorough handover to your colleagues (temporary or not) before you go on annual leave cannot be emphasised enough.

When handing over to your colleague / manager, remember the following points;

  • Make sure 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 courteous but also best practice to ensure that all relevant information is updated on the system.
  • Set up a priority list on tasks/ projects to be done
  • Decisions to be taken/made in your absence – give them your recommendations on each
  • A list of main projects / deliverables to be completed
  • A list of general duties expected to be covered (if applicable for temporary staff cover)
  • Main stakeholders involved- clients, suppliers, internal IT/facilities/marketing
  • Contact numbers for all involved
  • Advice on passwords/codes to systems if required
  • Hand over keys to safes/offices/vehicles if needed
  • Set up your Out of Office automatic reply with details of who will be handling your workload as well as the expected date you’ll be back. Update your voice mail as well so that you’re not handling any unnecessary calls while away


Once the hand-over is safely completed, then off you go and have an amazing holiday knowing your workload and clients are in safe hands.  

Emma Anglim is a Director of The Brightwater Group and oversees the Business Support and HR recruitment teams.