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Holiday handover: 7 points for handing over work

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Holiday handover: 7 points for handing over work

How to plan a handover before vacation or time off

Do you know that too: Before a vacation or vacation, the working days suddenly speed up because a lot still has to be completed. Often there is not enough time for an orderly handover of the work. Holiday handovers or handovers before parental leave or a longer absence occur regularly at work and should therefore be routine. To ensure that the next handover at work is a success, we have written down 7 points that you should consider.

1. Document work processes and ensure orderly knowledge management

In your daily work, make sure that you document recurring workflows and processes well. This process documentation is a great help if you have to hand over certain tasks to colleagues – even at short notice. A well-structured filing system for documents, files and information of any kind also helps if a handover is due before a holiday or a break. For example, get in the habit of regularly checking, cleaning up and archiving your file storage. If your company does not yet have a uniform system for filing and naming files or folders, then you should introduce this if possible.

2. Start preparing for a handover in good time

On the last working day before the holiday, quickly hand over the work to your colleague and then go home and pack your bags? This is definitely not how the holiday handover works. Plan enough time for a handover. How much, of course, depends on several factors, such as the length of your absence, whether your replacement is already familiar with your area of ​​responsibility and which projects and tasks are pending during your absence.

Since many companies record vacation and absence times in an annual plan and there are often fixed substitution plans, you can ensure that there is enough time to hand over work. It is best to discuss in the team or with your representative at least two weeks before your vacation when the actual handover will take place. Under no circumstances should you wait until the last day to do so. Also clarify whether the vacation handover is only to one person or to several substitutes.

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3. Use a handover protocol

Prepare for the handover of your work by creating a handover report. Record important points of the handover, for example ongoing projects and deadlines, important contact persons, contacts and dates, access to documents and manuals. You can use this checklist for your handover so that you don’t forget anything in the handover protocol. Complete the log during the handover and also record the latest status of projects and tasks. Make sure your representative has access to all documents including the handover protocol at all times.

4. Use screenshots and screen videos for handover

A picture says more than a thousand words: Save yourself long descriptive texts to explain tasks or processes. Instead, use screenshots or short screenshot videos to make the job easier for your representative. Record your screen, for example to explain how to work with software or on a website. Screenshots at work are also suitable for step-by-step instructions. Just like screen videos, they are very useful in everyday work because they clearly record what needs to be done when and where.

Use a screen recorder like Snagit to edit screenshots, add annotations or bullets, or insert graphics. Snagit also makes it easy to create simple videos of your screen as you complete tasks or perform typical workflows. Such screen videos are also ideal for documenting a project status. Your representative can access this at any time and hopefully you will be spared annoying inquiries or phone calls during your vacation.

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5. Make a personal delivery of the work and take a picture of it if possible

Regardless of whether you are working in the office or remotely: If possible, make the handover in direct communication with your representative. In a personal conversation, whether in a video call or at the office desk, tasks can often be better handed over than exclusively in the form of digital work instructions and documents. If possible, it is better to plan several short appointments than a long handover, in which concentration suffers at the end and important details are forgotten. If your work is complex, hand it in bit by bit to allow time for questions. Basically, a holiday handover is similar to the onboarding of new employees and should also get as much attention.

If the handover takes place via video call, it is best to make a screen recording that your representative can watch again and again if questions or ambiguities arise later. This screen recording is an ideal addition to the handover protocol and should also be accessible at all times during your absence.

6. Inform important customers or projects about your absence in advance

If you have ongoing projects or important clients, inform them in advance about your vacation and who will represent you during your absence. This is not only a nice service, but also avoids unpleasant surprises and confusion on the customer side.

7. Set an out-of-office reply for emails and switch your phone

You shouldn’t wait until the last working day to write your absence notice either. Prepare a draft a few days before your vacation and make sure it correctly states the duration of your absence and the substitute contact person. Mistakes in an out-of-office reply are more than embarrassing, so be sure to proofread them! Make sure your out-of-office message is activated on time.

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Even if a large part of our communication today takes place via e-mail: Also make sure that your work phone does not ring in vain during your absence. Forward your telephone number to your representative or a switchboard (and let them know that you are away).

Main goals of handing over work

Everyone benefits from a well-organized handover of vacation or handover of work: You yourself, your company and customers and clients: You can enjoy your vacation because you know your tasks are in good hands and are not disturbed by work calls or e-mails, because there are questions or problems. Ideally, your customers will not even notice that you are missing and are satisfied with the smooth handover and the service provided by your company. Last but not least, return to an orderly workplace after your vacation, without missing deadlines or stalling projects. After all, nothing destroys the recovery after a vacation like a stressful first day of work with frustration or chaos.

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