I have had a number of discussions with my peers during the World Cup period about how the tournament has affected a number of different areas including work hours, productivity and team spirit. Although, we still occasionally hear our German friends and colleagues boasting about winning the World Cup, for the rest of us it’s back to normal.
However, since the holiday season has begun, normality is not quite restored for some employees (we’re talking about you guys who are already on the beach). It is a difficult task for a manager to make sure that their employees come back after their summer break with the same can-do attitude and work ethic that they left with.
If you haven’t yet taken your holidays then the following four tips could help your work life run a lot smoother whilst you’re away as well as preventing a buildup of work whilst you’re getting a tan.
We often let employees hand in their holiday requests separately, without considering the effects on other colleagues such as delayed input, deadlines or lack of handover.
TIP: Make the (summer) holiday planning a part of the team meeting and explain potential consequences that will occur as a result of your leave. If there are challenges to overcome in the planning you will see that most employees are willing and flexible to adjust if they are included in a discussion about it before it happens. I often see one or two employees covering for a bunch of team members and see them stressing out to get things done just before they go on holiday themselves. This is definitely not recommended!
You will need to schedule a meeting before the holiday of an employee in order to discuss who will take care of the work in his/her absence.
If the employee who covers the absent colleague needs to learn a certain system then make sure there is enough time for questions and training before the employee goes on leave!
TIP: Authorise access to or redirect the e-mail account for a certain period of time. Also, make sure that the right information (i.e. who to contact in your absence) is in your out-of-office reply. This will save a lot of time and effort for the employee who is covering your work as they will be able to complete your work properly and efficiently.
3) Point of contact:
During your own absence make sure that you appoint a team member or colleague manager to be available for questions and support for your team who also has the power and knowledge to be able to act on urgent matters that can’t wait until your return.
TIP: Make sure that if somebody really needs something urgently, that only the aforementioned person will contact you for these matters. I often see that managers react on e-mails and support their team whilst they’re on vacation. It’s not only your team that needs to take the time off, you as a manager need to lead by example.
4) Return to work
Soon after employees come back from holiday it is often the case that their recharged batteries aren’t lasting very long; this is not good and shouldn’t be the case.
TIP: If the employee who covers the holiday outlines which e-mails have been handled and prepares a structured handover on the first day back while outlining all urgent matters, it is a far better start then going through a bursting e-mail box of all unread messages.
TIP: If possible plan the day longer so you can start with the handover with your colleague, read the e-mails that not have been handled and make a list of priority first before just reaction on everything.
TIP: It may be worth scheduling your out-of-office reply for one day longer so that you can catch up on what has happened whilst you have been on holiday.
What do you do to ensure your holiday is really a holiday from day one? And so your recharged batteries last longer when you return to work?
Enjoy the summer!