It is important that we can maintain a work-life balance here at Wholegrain. One of the key things that we encourage everyone to do is plan well and enjoy your holiday to the maximum! We all need some time off work to relax and recharge.

We appreciate autonomy and individual ownership in our team. Therefore, it’s good for everyone to participate in the decision-making of your own holidays. It is not just a simple request you submit, you will actually be the one who leads the approval process of your holiday request. You will also arrange your cover and manage your schedule.

A step by step guide for arranging and requesting your holiday period

Once you decide which days you are planning to take as a holiday please follow the steps below:

  1. Confirming dates: Check your schedule on the day/these days
  2. Checking schedules and workload, confirm with your cover(s):
    Check your teammate’s schedule on the day/these days. This can be one or more than one person who you are planning to ask to cover for you.
    • If your schedule and your potential cover(s)’s schedule are full, you might want to plan your holiday on different dates.
    • If your schedule for the planned dates is neither full nor empty, and your potential cover teammate has time to cover for you on the day/these days, please confirm with them. Ensure that on the email HR is on cc.
    • Please Note: It is good to remember that your teammate has their own schedule to manage and work to complete. You want to leave them with a sensible and achievable workload during your holiday, in spite of them covering for you. Before you go away on holiday, complete most of your tasks so your teammate is mostly having to only pick up only bits and bobs that you couldn’t get to before you go away.
  3. Arranging handover:
    Now that ‘your schedule’ and ‘your cover(s)’s schedule’ are checked and agreed covers are confirmed, you can prepare your handover.
    • If your holiday is commencing within the next two weeks, arrange a meeting with your cover(s) to discuss your handover notes at least three working days before your holiday commences.
    • If your holiday is not commencing within the next two weeks, arrange a reminder for yourself to follow these steps. This should be a basecamp task or a google calendar reminder which can be shared with HR to ensure this is arranged.
    • Please Note: Handover is the key to making sure that your holiday is managed smoothly and effectively. It is unpleasant to be contacted from work while you are on holiday. So to make sure you can enjoy your holiday and your cover(s) can handle your work well, a clear and organised handover is a must. It is essential to arrange a handover meeting with your cover(s) to go through your handover document together.
  4. Logging your leave request:
    So with your schedules checked, cover(s) arranged and handover reminder set up, you can go to the Leave Request Channel to announce your holiday request. In the channel you will find this policy and guidance notes pinned. You should double-check that you have followed the correct steps. You will also need to set a Slack or google calendar reminder for your handover.
    • Here is an example of the announcement: “@channel, I would like to request DD-MM-YYYY to DD-MM-YYYY off as holidays. I can confirm that I have arranged @Team member X (and Team member Y) as my cover(s) during my holiday. The arrangement for my cover is agreed and confirmed, my handover is here (insert google link unless it is confidential). Please approve my holiday once I submit @HR.”
  5. Placing holiday request: You can now request your holiday on our HR system (Bamboo HR). Please do put the following in note of your holiday request:
    • Confirmed in the Leave Channel
    • Team member X (and Y) will cover for me
    • The handover will be done on DD-MM-YYYY.
    • The call is arranged for date DD-MM-YYYY with Team member X (and Y)
  6. Once the HR team has received your holiday request, we will check the Leave Request Channel, if every step is followed correctly, we will tick everything and approve your holiday.

Here is quick check box for you to understand the steps

The situations where my holiday will not be approved

  • It might be difficult to find a suitable cover when other team members are on holiday on the days you are planning to take off
  • Your schedules are full with pre-planned work. It is unfair to put this workload on your team member who is covering for you, and we think they will be not able to handle it.
  • There may be an event, or meeting, or a task/deadline on the day/days you are planning to be off and we require you to be present, or can only be done/met by you.

Please note: Everyone has the right to enjoy their holiday. We recommend everyone to take some time off. however, during busy periods, it requires more planning and organising. Short notice is always going to be challenging for both sides. Plan your holiday in advance, and this will make it much easier to arrange for suitable team members to cover for you and this will lead to a smooth handover.

Where it can go wrong?

Like most of the policy and guidance, in theory it works perfectly, yet in real life sometimes things do go wrong, and here is a list of possible reasons where it can go wrong when you approve your holidays:

  • Assuming suitable team members to cover for you without confirming with him/her/them
  • No handover document
  • Handover document that is not clear, and no communication (or poor communication) with your suitable cover(s)
  • Too much work in your handover that beyond the capacity of your cover(s)
  • Missing tasks and/or information in your handover

What would happen if it does go wrong?

When something goes wrong during your holiday time, unless it is important and urgent, we will not interrupt your holiday time. Normally we would like to address this on the first day of your return. It is not a blame or pointing fingers, but we will invite you and/or your cover(s) to a meeting and find out which part went wrong and how we can solve/fix it together.

It is vital that we all understand in order to make sure everyone can enjoy their holiday, as a team we need to collaborate and communicate. We need to appreciate our teammates who cover for us and aim to make sure that this period is as simplified as possible. It is also crucial to fully own your work and take responsibility to arrange the alternative for your tasks and projects to be taken care of. If you had done everything in the check box, you will be able to enjoy your holiday fully, as you will not be worrying about work while you are away.

What about TOIL and Emergency Time off?

We do not in any way recommend working over time, it takes a toll on our work-life balance. We believe the best way to increase productivity is through improved efficiency, not working overtime. But sometime you may found yourself working a bit late to finish your tasks or something urgent comes up at the last minute and need to be dealt with immediately. In this case, you will need to inform our HR team first to discuss the situation. Our HR team will advise you of the possible TOIL arrangement. When you would like to use your TOIL, you simply can follow this step-by-step guide to book it off just as normal holidays, just choose TOIL when you request your holiday on our HR system.

Please Note, TOIL needs to be arranged and discussed beforehand, if you are working overtime without discussed with our HR team, you may not get the time back as TOIL. If you need to work overtime regularly, for example more than twice a month, we will invite you for a meeting to discuss your capacity and workload, and help you to avoid working overtime and maintain a well functioned work-life balance.

For Emergency Time off, it is understandable that sometimes that we have something urgent come up and we need to attend to it immediately. For situation(s) like this, we will have a quick chat to estimate the situation, it will be discussed and decided on a case by case basis.