Managing Holidays When You Work Globally

A big US holiday is bearing down on us next week and it has prompted me to write a post about managing holidays when you work globally.

I’m based in the UK, the majority of my clients are from the US and Canada.  My team are based in the Philippines, there are a lot of holidays to manage.

Know When The Holidays Happen

I was tripped up on Monday this week it was a an End of Ramadan holiday in the Philippines. I was sending over project updates when a very polite response came in along the lines of “You do remember we are on holiday today?”.  No I had not remembered.

The most useful tool I have found is to import national holiday calendars into my Google calendar profile, there are public holiday lists for most countries, I have created a short video to show you how to add international holidays.

Client Communication

I’ve not found any issue telling clients I’m unavailable due to a national holiday.  Clear client communication that you are not available on August 28th because it’s a bank holiday in the UK is usually enough.

If you go off on holiday and a client is left in limbo with a=unanswered emails can cause issues.

Team Communication

We have a central team calendar and I’ve added all the national holidays of the UK and Philippines into it (implemented last Tuesday ahhem! ) so we can see when holidays are coming up and when me, or my team members will not be available.

When I’m out the office I tell my team and let them know I’ll not be around for IM and everything will go into out project management system.

Likewise if my team are unavailable and a project is open I ask for an update so I can deal with client requests.

Use The Space

Rather than seeing this is an issue I suggest you embrace the space holidays create in your calendar, for example each year I take a day out on the US holiday of Thanksgiving as a planning day.  I know client emails will be slow and I can afford not to book any work in.

It’s become an annual ritual that I really look forward to each year.

Highlight The Benefits

You can also highlight the benefits to clients that you can be working on their issue while they are enjoying a well deserved holiday.

People like the idea that changes can be made when their sites are not busy on a holiday.

What Do The British Call The Fourth Of July?

Well this Brit calls it Tuesday this year where he will have time to catch up with some admin and work on a French client’s site.

Wrap Up – Managing Holidays When You Work Globally

It’s never been a big deal managing my time, my teams time and client communication across countries as long as you

There have been occasions when I have fired off an email and I can hear the crickets chirping, it’s at times like this I consult my holiday calendar only to find the recipient is probably not available.

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