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13 Feb 2023

How can I manage my time off work?

How can I manage my time off work?
As a manager, how can you deal with pre-holiday anxiety? I travel, and trust the team, however the stress before leaving the service is huge... any tips on how to effectively manage time off?

Leaving work for a break can be daunting – I have been there and can relate. Last year, I left the team to celebrate a big birthday which meant I was in and out for about a month and I was so nervous!

I would recommend that you start to plan straight away – start a handover document that you add to as soon as you remember something. I started a word document and separated it out into specific topics – I added actions or tasks under each one for different team members, highlighting their names in different colours so they could scan and easily see what they had been left or needed to take note of.

I ended up with an almost 12-page document that I then screen-recorded a video for – of me talking through my handover. It was sent out as a shared link just for the team, and I could see when they viewed it too. The team fed back that they felt the handover and my video was very helpful – it meant they could watch and listen at the same time. And in most cases, any questions they had were answered during the handover video.

Crucially, I sent the handover out a little early and asked everyone to watch it and come back to me with any questions, before I went on leave.

I also made sure that important numbers and ‘just in case’ scenarios were covered off, so the team knew what to do in an emergency. Going forward, we have started writing up standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all our processes – it’s still a work in progress but it does mean that anyone can access this resource and read the ‘how to’ write-up on lots of different things. Again, the feedback on this has been great.

Most importantly, it’s very important to take time off from work, have the right work-life balance, and ensure you really do ‘switch off’. That is not possible if you don’t feel prepared or ready – so I hope the tips above will ensure that you are able to have a great break knowing you have prepared in advance!

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