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Combating the Holiday Inbox

The summer holidays are upon us and so begins the great British getaway. And after a nice relaxing break camping in the English Countryside or the soaking up the sun on the Costa del Sol, we inevitably spend most of the first week back sifting through hundreds, nay thousands of emails received in our absence. True, 75% of them may be the usual junk, or someone’s out of office responding to your out of office, responding to theirs (the cycle can go on for days!), but nevertheless each one has to be seen, digested and replied to, or at least carefully filed in the recycle bin.

Although some people are more than happy to scan through their emails whilst on holiday, your organisation shouldn’t put pressure on anyone to make them feel they have to do this. After all, taking some down time to recharge the batteries and forget about work for a week or two does wonders for motivation.

Some companies have a system of delegation in place whereby a manager or a colleague in the same team becomes responsible for dealing with emails in an employee’s absence. However, this can put pressure on already overstretched workers who may have to spend considerably more time familiarising themselves with the matter in hand and often all they can do is reply with a holding email.

Other businesses have gone a step further and introduced a policy whereby any email received by an employee during their annual leave is automatically deleted with a return “out of office” message sent to the original sender telling them that this is the case. It may seem a bit extreme, and may not always be appropriate for time sensitive matters, but it is a simple way to reduce the volume of emails on the employee’s return allowing them to get straight back into doing what they need to be doing.

Whatever your policy, it’s best to make sure everyone knows where they stand well before they start making preparations for a holiday handover. It doesn’t necessarily have to be written in a Company Handbook, but clear communication is essential, as with all HR issues.

If you would like more information about dealing with employee annual leave in general, speak to one of our Park City consultants today.

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