How to keep staff productive while you're away

Alan Price – CEO at BrightHR

July 31 2018

As an employer, you might be reluctant to go on holiday. Even though you’re overworked and desperately need a break, you’re worried that everything will fall apart if you’re away for too long. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By taking some simple steps to make sure your staff stay productive, you’ll be able to relax, safe in the knowledge that your business will still be in one piece when you get back. Step 1: Plan ahead Sit down with your staff in advance and let them know you’re planning on taking a break. Tell them what you expect them to achieve while you’re away, and give them the opportunity to ask questions. Creating a to-do list is a great way to get things done. This could be a simple Excel spreadsheet, but you can also find plenty of task management apps online if you want to go into more detail. These apps also have the advantage of being accessible from anywhere in the world. Whatever you choose, the to-do list should include the priority level and deadline for each task, and who’s responsible for completing it. Step 2: Delegate Set up a point of contact. This will be an employee who’ll answer questions or concerns if anything urgent crops up in your absence. If your business doesn’t already have a chain of command, choose someone who you trust, like a senior manager or someone who all your staff respect. Step 3: Keep watch Until now, we’ve been working on the assumption that your staff are honest and hard-working. But if you suspect they may start slacking as soon as you’re out the door, you may have to take more drastic measures to keep an eye on them. You might be tempted to install CCTV cameras to make sure they stay in line. However, you’ll run the risk of seeming paranoid and authoritarian, so we wouldn’t recommend such a move. Instead, get someone you trust to report back to you if they’re concerned some of your employees’ productivity has dropped. Another way to make sure they don’t come in late or take extended lunches while you’re gone is to use a clocking-in system like B!ip by BrightHR, which is free to download and use. Step 4: Go on holiday, but stay contactable While you should use your annual leave to get some well-deserved rest, you shouldn’t be completely off the grid. Give your contact details to the people you put in charge in case of an emergency. Make it clear that getting in touch with you should only be a last resort. Trust your staff You should trust the people who work for you. While it’s tempting to never go on holiday because you fear what might happen if you do, everything should be fine if you put these measures in place. So go ahead and book that flight.

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