Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Planning for Holidays II - smaller firms

In response to my earlier posting about heading off on holidays (see here), I was asked how this would apply to much smaller firms - to the 1 to 5 partner firm in particular.

In general, much of the advice is the same. What changes is that, in this size of firm, there will be fewer people to do the work for the partners and so they will need to get more involved in the actual "do-ing".

Task 1 in my first email was to do with planning. That still needs to be done. It should go without saying that the partners will have discussed holiday cover amongst themselves and will be aware of each others' ongoing matters. Everyone still needs to agree what an emergency is. One quick route to partner fallout would be one partner deciding to try to deal with an angry client who is usually dealt with by someone on holiday. Having the discussion before you go away about what constitutes an emergency.

Task 2 is valid for any size of organisation. Tell your colleagues and co-workers when you will be checking your emails and try to have someone back at the office deal with the simple ones for you.

Task 3 applies to every size of firm. Tell your clients - admit to being human and needing a holiday.

Task 4 possibly applies even more to partners in a smaller firm. These people tend to be the more entrepreneurial type who will have difficulty in being away from work for an extended time. Try to remember that there are other people in your life - partner, spouse, children and friends - and that they should have some of your time too. Remember, too, that you deserve time just for you, doing the things you probably used to do before you decided to start or join a small law firm. Now is the time for all those things. Switch off your phone/iPhone/Blackberry other than at the designated times. Dare to disconnect from the internet. You may find you like it.

I updated my first post with a reminder to talk with your team about enjoying their holiday in the same way. In small partnerships it is vital that all the partners - and everyone involved in the firm - gets the best from their holidays. If your fellow partners haven't planned their tome away from the office yet, then help them to have it now. Everyone will benefit in the end.

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