07 Dec How to Prepare For a Stress-free Break From Work – Part 2
How to prepare others for when you’re away
Last week we shared tips on how to prepare yourself for a stress-free holiday. This week we continue the theme and discuss how to increase productivity and prepare your colleagues and clients for when you’re away. When you are prepared, you can enjoy your well-deserved break without being interrupted.
Here are our top strategies for preparing colleagues and clients:
1. Set clear expectations
If your leave is going to impact clients or team members, they need to know in advance.
Let your clients know when you’ll be unavailable, and what they should do if they need help. For example, give them an alternate contact for urgent matters.
It’s a good idea to get in touch with high priority clients a week or two before you leave and ask if there’s anything they need before you go away. It shows them that you’re thinking of them, and gives them enough warning so that you can handle any major issues before you leave – this will also provide you with peace of mind while you’re away.
Similarly, let your colleagues know at least a week in advance when and how long you’ll be away. That way, if they need anything from you before you go, they have a chance to ask. Tell your colleagues how you can be reached, e.g. emails only and set clear rules for when you can be reached, e.g. emergencies only. If you do a proper hand-over, your colleagues shouldn’t need to contact you unless it’s an emergency. If you are entirely non-contactable, make sure that you communicate this with your team.
If you have someone covering for you while you’re away, don’t forget to leave their contact details in your out-of-office message.
2. Provide hand-over
If you’ve organised a colleague to cover your workload while you’re away, make sure that you give them clear hand-over instructions. Talk them through what’s required, as well as leave written instructions. Include what tasks they need to do, how to do them, key contacts, and where to find the information they might need.
It’s also a good idea to warn them of any potential issues that may come up, and make sure that they know how to handle them. The last thing anyone wants is surprises!
Remember, the more you prepare your colleague, the less likely they’ll need to interrupt your holiday with a work call.
3. Trust your team
If you’re in a leadership position, vacation is the perfect time to trust your team. Delegate and confirm covering arrangements. For example, send an email to the whole team with a task or project list – including a summary of the task, who is responsible for it, and the key deadlines.
Once you’ve briefed your team, you should trust them to handle the work while you’re gone. It’s a good chance for team members to demonstrate their skills or stretch themselves for future promotions. By empowering your team, you show them that you trust in their capabilities.
4. Organise your return
To avoid stress, block out time in your calendar – before you go on leave – to catch up with your colleagues and clients when you return. Schedule a meeting with your team (and those covering for you) for the day after you get back. So you can go over what tasks your team completed and what’s outstanding.
You’ll feel more organised and relaxed knowing that you’ll be able to start being productive straight away.
No matter how much you love your job, switching off is essential for your wellbeing and productivity. Enjoy spending time with family and friends, get some sun and exercise. Getting a proper break means that you’ll experience a fresh return and feel ready to tackle new challenges.
We look forward to working with our clients on learning how to increase productivity in 2021.