Why you shouldn't prepare a holiday handover


How much should you prep with your team before you go off on holiday? Should you put work into preparing a holiday handover?

Well, today is the last day before I jet off with my family on a well-earned holiday, and something interesting has struck me.

There is no stress. I’ve prepared no handover.

We’ve not had to do any formal meetings about what we need to focus on while i’m off, and it feels great… I can just go!

How has this happened?

Trust me... it’s not by accident, and it never use to be like this.The most important change is that I don’t really manage anyone's work load. Each person has ownership of their own area and we all have transparency on what everyone else is doing.Whether that’s client notes that we keep in Evernote, key numbers we keep in Google Sheets, we use Atlassian’s Jira software for our tech development, Pipedrive for our sales CRM, and (of course) our own product, Motivii, for sharing objectives and weekly updates.

These systems help us work together in an agile framework, but a framework isn’t enough to make your holiday a stress-free experience. You need to trust the people you work with.

What will I be doing instead?

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be properly offline as my batteries recharge. No email, no Slack, no distractions. This only works because the team knows how to make decisions without me.

Absolute worst case scenario they can text me.When I get back from holiday I’m confident I won’t be greeted with a train wreck. That’s because everyone knows what they need to do, and because we have a framework to how we work I won’t have added to anyone’s workload.

And I won't have added to my own, either, because I'll have avoided doing my holiday handover.

Tips for having a stress-free holiday

  1. Build a framework to how you work, eg. fortnightly sprints. Have your team take ownership of each part of that framework.

  2. Meetings should still happen without you. Whether that’s a weekly team meeting or planning sessions, these should still happen when you’re away. It’s important your team keeps to the rhythm that they expect.

  3. Your direct team should always have transparency over what you’re working on. Don’t just prepare this for when you go away.

  4. Train your team’s autonomy muscle. Your team should know what they need to do in key scenarios. They should also be used to spotting problems and thinking of solutions. If these solutions can only come from you, you’re not doing enough to empower them.

Finally, if you find yourself panicking about what’s going to happen (or not going to happen) while you’re away, you’ve not set your team up to succeed.

Or, if you come back to a sh*tstorm, you know you don’t have the right systems in place. Take five to think about how your team operates. Remember - there’s no point taking holiday if you have to work harder before you go, work when you’re away, and then catch up on piles of extra work when you’re back.

Next time you're away, try not doing a holiday handover.We all deserve a holiday, so make sure you enjoy yours!

By Eamon Tuhami, CEO and Founder at Motivii

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