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TALKING POINTS

Holiday Handover Made Smooth and Simple

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The holiday season is around the corner! Before you head off for your year-end getaway, don’t forget to hand over your tasks to your team. It’s easier said than done though – no one likes extra workload, and how do you ensure everything is on track in your absence? Take a cue from us: tackle these common sources of frustration with holiday handovers and keep yours smooth and simple for everyone involved!

Last-minute notice
Your teammates are annoyed with the short notice…

Don’t be that person who dumps everything on a colleague just five minutes before a two-week vacation! Not only is it rude, but you may also forget important details when you’re in a rush. Use a shared calendar to inform your teammates about your travel plans as early as possible, and add a note to your email signature to notify your clients and co-workers in advance. This way, they have sufficient time to discuss any potential challenges or needs to push back deadlines. Begin preparing the handover at least a week before you go on leave, which not only gives you time to get organised, but also allows your helpers to plan ahead.
Scattered info
Your teammates are confused by details of your project…

If you’re drip-feeding information to your teammates through multiple emails and phone calls, chances are something is going to slip their mind. Instead, put everything important down in a single handover document. Consider creating a template for the whole office to use as a standard – it should include only the essential particulars relevant to the tasks, such as background information, action items, deadlines, client contacts and useful links, together with step-by-step instructions. Bonus: for complicated tasks, add screenshots or even record a short instructional video as a simple yet comprehensive guide!
Too much work, too little time
Your teammates don’t have time to take care of everything…

We all have this problem, so be grateful that your colleagues are covering for you on top of their own day-to-day duties. Any responsible team player will try to tie up all loose ends before they jet off, rather than leaving their co-workers with admin to finish off. With that said, if you still need their help, create a list and indicate clearly the priorities of what must be done and what could wait. Expect the less important tasks to be dropped in case your colleagues don’t have time to do everything – which is absolutely normal – and prepare to pick them up once you’re back.
Not expecting the unexpected
Your teammates feel lost when there’s an emergency…

In an ideal world, your colleagues know exactly what to do while you’re away and you have an amazing, undisturbed holiday. But in reality, things can still go astray no matter how much you plan. While you should give your team an easy way to get in touch for urgent matters, minimise this need by making all the necessary email introductions in advance, so your clients and teammates know who to contact when there is an emergency. Getting your desk and files organised is also helpful – label everything, create a file plan and stick it to your desk; it’ll enable your team to find what they need easily without asking you.
When you’re back
Your teammates feel unappreciated…

No one likes to help someone who is unappreciative, so remember to express your gratitude for those taking over for you! When you return, call a meeting with your colleagues to get an update on your project’s status – even though things may not have been done your way, this isn’t the time to criticise. Instead, appreciate the fact that they have taken the time to help so you could take a break. Say “thank you” to them in person, and don’t forget to bring them special treats to show your appreciation!

Feeling stressed over the amount of work to clear before your holiday? Take these time management tips to boost your productivity!
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