3DVA blog - holiday handover

Picture your dream holiday. Are you relaxing and enjoying indulgent pleasures? Is that the reality of your time off, or are your constantly distracted by phone calls, work emails and remote meetings?

After the year we’ve all experienced, everyone deserves to get away, relax and recharge. That includes small business owners! Achieving a work-life balance is important so that we can have a positive and productive lifestyle, yet many of us find it hard to accept time off. Even when we escape, the demands of the job can draw us back in. We fear missing out on something important.

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” – Dolly Parton

If switching off sounds like a pipedream, we want to assure you that it is possible. What is required is holiday handover planning. To make it easier, we’re offering a free Work Handover Sheet The template can be downloaded below. We encourage you to dedicate a couple of hours to follow our advice. We feel confident that you will benefit from many more hours of time off if you do.

Holiday planning?

For every role, there is a list of standard daily tasks. The first step is to put these in order of priority.

Start by listing the important things that must be undertaken; letting these slide would be detrimental to the business. This can include regular tasks, current projects and fulfilling legal obligations. Which of these can be addressed before you take leave, which can wait for your return and which need attention whilst you are off work?

With the essentials covered, move onto the tasks that it would be helpful to keep ticking over whilst you are away.

Who can a small business owner delegate to?

There is only so much that you can complete before taking a holiday, so who or what can help you maintain business as usual?

As a small business owner, you might have other team members to delegate work to. With consideration to their workload, identify the best person, or people, to cover your work. If you require specialist skills or greater capacity then outsourcing is a viable solution. Find an experienced freelancer to provide the resource you need, exactly when you need them.

Provide a list of tasks and explain what is required; provide your colleague or freelancer with all the information necessary to make it easier. Focus on empowering them to take on responsibility for getting the job done. In some cases, recording a short Zoom video to show the steps can be helpful.

In addition to people, some tools can help with scheduling and delegating tasks. Hubspot and Asana are two examples. Both options offer free packages that could fulfil small business needs. These tools enable the assigning of tasks to specific individuals. When provided with a login, they can access their tasks. Each task can include associated uploaded documents. If it offers you peace of mind, you can log in to the system at any time to monitor progress.

To keep your social media pages active whilst you relax, Hootsuite or Buffer are good options. Using these tools means you can write your posts in advance and then schedule them to be published, on your chosen platforms, throughout the week.

Who do small business owners need to inform about time off?

To greatly reduce the communication received, let colleagues and clients know that you are taking leave. Give plenty of notice so they have time to plan around your leave. This should leave less to cover whilst you are away.

Contact clients in advance and prioritise what needs to be completed before you go and what will be actioned on your return. If you are delegating, introduce the client and the individual. A Zoom/Teams call can be valuable, as it provides all parties with an opportunity to ask questions and agree on actions.

For new clients, allocate responsibility to another person, or be clear about extended lead times and deadlines that take into account your time off.

Let your team know what would be considered an emergency, then provide them with a means of contacting you if that situation should occur. Ideally, you should feel confident in trusting them to manage everything else in your absence.

Set up ‘Out of Office’

On the final day, remember to set up your Out of Office. This automated response will be sent to anyone sending you emails. Personalise your message with details of who to contact in your absence and the date you will be back at your desk so that the recipient is fully aware.

I would also suggest that you schedule a feedback meeting with those you have delegated to for your return. This ensures that you are fully informed of progress and updates. They may also have suggestions on smarter ways to get the job done!

Time to switch off and unwind

It can be incredibly difficult to allow yourself to unwind, but it is important to your well-being. Switch off devices and avoid the temptation to keep checking in. Make use of our Holiday Handover Sheet and the other documents available to download from our template library.

Holidays are precious times to enjoy great places and good company. Create happy memories; it’s what we’re working for! A break from the usual demands will help boost productivity and positivity on your return.


Holiday Handover: Free Download

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Can small business owners ever take a holiday?