July 8, 2016

10 things every HR professional must do before they go on holiday

Holidays are great but they do mean a bit of extra work in advance – finishing projects, tying up loose ends, briefing colleagues… To help you enjoy your holiday, knowing that everything will tick over smoothly in your absence, we have put together a list of 10 things every HR pro should do before going on holiday.

1. List the tasks you want to complete before you go. Then prioritise them. Decide which ones have to be completed, which ones you would like completed and which ones can wait until your return. That way, at least the really important tasks should get sorted.

2. Let your boss and colleagues know about your holiday. Give them plenty of notice and remind them a week before and then again a couple of days before. It will help them to manage their (and your) workload in your absence and hopefully prevent last-minute panicked phone calls about projects as you’re trying to get out the door.

3. Let key clients know. Give key clients sufficient notice too. Not only is it polite, but again, it will hopefully stop those last minute panicked requests for help. Give clients the names and contact details they might need should they need to contact someone in your absence.

4. Cover your tasks. If there are tasks that will need attention when you are gone, then assign people to those tasks, brief them and give them all information, resources and contact details they will need. If any problems or issues are likely to arise, give guidelines on how to address them.

5. Consider getting temporary cover. If covering your workload is going to be very onerous and time-consuming, it’s probably best to hire someone in rather than expecting colleagues to manage your tasks as well as their own.

6. Upskill someone internally. Rather than hiring an external resource to provide cover, consider whether someone internal could be seconded as a career-enhancing opportunity for them.

7. Change your voicemail and set up an out of office reply. This lets people know that you are away and for how long. Provide the names and contact details of people to be contacted in your absence. This is not only courteous and helpful to those contacting you, it will also hopefully mean that work continues in your absence. It should also minimise the volume of emails and voicemails awaiting you on your return.

8. Prepare for your return to work. Make a document for when you return from your holiday, reminding you of the status of any outstanding work and what needs your immediate attention. Make a comprehensive to do list in order of priority.

9. Clear your workstation. It looks unprofessional to leave a messy, disorganised workstation, particularly if anyone else is going to be stationed there in your absence.

10. Note down your passwords. You would be surprised what a two-week absence does to your memory – passwords are easily forgotten in that time.

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