Going on leave? Top tips for handing over to a colleague

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Neil Currams leave, holiday, handover...

Despite living in an ever-connected world, we all have times when we need to be away from the office but need to ensure continuity of work in our absence. The best way to cover this is in a well thought out handover to colleagues.

Here are our top tips to handover that should leave you confident and able to relax whilst on leave:

  • Context – Context is all. Consider how long you will be away for – a few days, an entire month? What may happen in that time? Look at what normally happens on a daily and weekly basis in your role and think about how people and situations would be affected if you were not there.
  • Customer – There are usually two types of customer to consider. There is your customer (be that internal from another department or external from another organisation) and then there is the person or people who will be handling your work in your absence. Think about the audience, what do they need to know? Your customer may need to be notified who to contact whilst you are away and be given alternative contact details. Your colleagues who will be handling your work will need to know for example key tasks that need to be completed, where to find information and documentation, any requirements or contact preferences of your customers.
  • Best enabler – How will you communicate effectively this information to your customers and colleagues? Will an email suffice? Does someone need to shadow you or need guidance on how to use a particular system in your absence? Do you need to provide detailed instructions or refer to existing documentation stored within the organisation’s systems?

Most importantly, plan. Consider the timescale for handover, what is it possible to do in the time that you have before you go on leave. What is business critical and realistic to do in terms of communication of information and knowledge?

Don’t forget if all else fails ensure you have an out of the office message with clear instructions on your email account detailing when you are on leave from and to and who people can contact in your absence and also a similar message on your voice mail system for mobile and landlines.

Wishing you all happy holidays !