Don’t you just love holidays? Whether you’re planning a long international jaunt or the relaxation of a ‘stay-cation’, they are really something to work for and enjoy. Accumulating excessive amounts of annual leave for the sake of it isn’t good for you or your employer. You are designed to have a break, be mentally and physically refreshed and your employer (and family for that matter) will be forever grateful for your renewed energy and health.
But sometimes, you feel as though you need a holiday from just the planning of your work load whilst you are away, or maybe even, dreading the amount of work you may face when you return. So how much planning do you put into practice prior to taking a holiday?
Prior to putting in your leave request, have a think about the time of year, is that the busiest time for your business? Are any of your colleagues also taking leave at the same time?
Obviously, giving as much notice as is practicable is the best option, but realistically this is not always possible. First in best dressed is always recommended with the high demand for holidays in the Christmas /New Year break though. Do you use checklists? I would base it on your job description, with particular note of all the ‘ad hoc’ work you also do. You will be surprised to see how much you know and do each day when you start writing it all down. Sometimes you may even need to put a ‘training manual’ together if you have a particularly technical role (payroll comes to mind). Make a note of what work you have handed over and to which particular person. You may have to make some time to show them through what has to be done if they are new to the task.
Don’t just say you will look at it upon your return to work, you risk being swamped. Consult with your Manager as well. It’s really in their best interests that the wheels of business continue to turn in your absence. In some instances, a temp can be brought in to assist with the workload. If you aren’t there for the handover, then your checklist and notes become essential.
If you are lucky enough to have a handover prior to your holiday, then don’t assume the temp will know everything, they still need to be guided in the expectations of the work, what’s essential and what deadlines are nonnegotiable. Once you have completed a checklist for the first time, then this is a great resource document for the holidays you will plan to take in the future. Make yourself as uncontactable as possible. Put your ‘out of office’ message on your email, change your voicemail or if required, divert your landline to your nominated colleague’s extension.
Whilst it is difficult to completely switch off the 21st Century…….try. Finally and most importantly, have a brilliant holiday!