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The secret to switching off: Taking annual leave as a leader

Submitted by Harry Double on

Research from the America’s International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that employees who take their annual leave are 40% more productive when they return, alongside other benefits - and as a leader, you want to make sure your teams are as productive as possible!

Staggeringly, different research by RotaCloud revealed that 69% of professionals do not take all their annual leave.

For everyone, taking annual leave is crucial for your well-being and allows you to come back to work with renewed energy. For leaders, it also sets the proper example for your teams by empowering them to be comfortable in taking time off too.

However, preparing for any period of absence can be a challenge, as you want to ensure a seamless transition without causing disruptions for your teams.

In this article, we will discuss some essential strategies to help you prepare for annual leave efficiently, meaning you can properly switch off when you are away.

Plan ahead

Proper planning is key

Start by reviewing your calendar and identifying the best time for your annual leave. Consider the workload, upcoming deadlines, and any major projects that may require your attention.

Communicate your plans to your team well in advance, allowing them enough time to prepare for your absence and giving you plenty of time to pull together any resources or tools that will maintain continuity.

Delegate responsibilities

To ensure a smooth operation in your absence, delegate responsibilities to your team members. Identify individuals who can take on your key tasks and ensure they have the necessary skills and resources.

Clearly communicate their roles and responsibilities, and empower them to make decisions in your absence. This will not only relieve your workload but also foster growth and development within your team - beneficial for both you and them in the long run.

Provide clear instructions and documentation

Create a comprehensive handover document that outlines the status and progress of ongoing projects, upcoming deadlines, key contacts, and any other relevant information.

Make sure to include detailed instructions and expectations for each responsibility. This will enable your team members to handle day-to-day operations efficiently and minimise the need for communication with you - something you want to avoid if possible when on holiday.

Bring in temporary cover

If needed, hiring contractors or temporary staff can help your teams cope with workloads.

This isn’t just a solution for when you are on annual leave, but over the entire holiday season when there are likely to be gaps left by various employees who are away at different times throughout the period.

Speak to us about hiring interim talent.

Communicate with stakeholders

Notify your clients, colleagues, and other key stakeholders about your leave well in advance. Provide them with alternative contacts who can assist during your absence.

Be proactive in addressing any concerns or questions they may have and assure them that everything will be handled smoothly in your absence.

Set boundaries and establish backup plans

To fully disconnect and enjoy your annual leave, it is essential to set boundaries

Clearly communicate your availability (if any at all) and ensure your team understands the circumstances of when they can reach out to you.

Establish backup plans to handle unforeseen circumstances, ensuring that your team has the necessary resources and guidance to resolve any issues that may arise.

Trust your team

One of the most important aspects of preparing for annual leave is trusting your team. Allow them the autonomy to make decisions and solve problems independently - it’s an important part of empowering them to progress in their particular roles!

Trusting your team not only boosts their confidence but also fosters a positive work culture that promotes growth and collaboration.

Take care of yourself

Lastly, don't forget to prioritise self-care during your annual leave. Use this time to relax, recharge, and engage in activities that bring you joy. Trust that your team is capable of handling things in your absence, and avoid constantly checking in on work-related matters.

Taking care of yourself is not only beneficial for your well-being but also sets a positive example for your team and encourages their growth and development.

In conclusion, preparing for annual leave as a leader requires careful planning, delegation, and effective communication. By following these strategies, you can ensure a smooth transition, allowing you to enjoy your time off with peace of mind.