A guide to holiday etiquette

Hannah Sims · 19 May

Need a holiday? Always, you say! You finally decide to go away, then Perkbox tells you that it's an etiquette minefield?! Is it even worth it?

Of course it is – holiday leave is there to be used. And nothing we can tell you could possibly ruin your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cornwall.

Here's our etiquette guide:

Book the time off

The official line from the government is that you must give an amount of notice equivalent to twice the amount of time you intend to take off – one week away needs two weeks notice (no, not the film). Your employer is well within their rights to refuse your leave, at busy times for example, but they must give you notice equivalent to the amount of time you've booked off (one week of notice for one week of leave). However, employers want you to take your leave - they know that healthy and happy employees are a good thing for business.


Or, at least tell people you're going away so that they know not to count on you that week. Hopefully, they won't send you pressing work on your last day in the office – unless you work in a juicing factory (boom boom). Permission to boast? Not quite! Have some sympathy for the colleagues you've left behind, and spare a thought for whoever you've put on the receiving end of your out-of-office redirect (see below).

’Twas the night before Exodus

It's 5pm and you're still trying to tie up all the loose ends before you leave, akin to a surgeon with a heap of blood vessels. Back at home, you still haven't retrieved your swimming costume from behind your wardrobe, or dusted off your retro money purse. Don't let yourself get to this stage- don't do all your work the evening before! It's miserable and it makes it harder to switch off when you really should be getting into holiday mode. Instead, start preparing to leave at least three days before.

holiday etiquette

Something kinda OOO

Nowhere is it more tempting to flaunt your freedom than in your out-of-office email. It's guaranteed that you'll type a couple of variants before you settle for the standard option:

"Thanks for emailing. Your request is a lost cause. I am in Jamaica, swimming with dolphins. This is my life now."



Before finally settling on the inevitable:
"Thanks for emailing. I am currently on annual leave. For urgent enquiries, please contact Jay, who has already used up all his holiday and has to stay here."

Out of office emails are vital. Since 40% of workers check their emails five times a day outside of work hours, your OOO is a small artificial barrier that stops your mind being in the office when your body is prone on the massage table.

Avoid telling people that they can contact you with anything urgent. Unless you write cryptic crosswords and haven't provided this week's answers, it can wait until you're back.

On the beach

Do not check in on your work whilst you're at the beach. Do not think about emails whilst you're snorkelling. Do not contemplate your to-do list whilst you're using your golden eagle to hunt prey on the Mongolian steppe. Do not think about work until you get to the airport and hurriedly buy some 'authentic' Polynesian boiled sweets for the office.
And, whilst you're beachside, don't forget to move around a bit – The Telegraph reported that two weeks of idle beach living can add half an inch to your waistline.

Back to school

On coming back into the office, why not catch up with your colleagues first? It's what successful team leaders do and, if you've been dreading coming back, it's a far nicer start than trawling through the emails. Jumping straight into emails is demoralising and isn't necessarily the best use of your morning. Ease back into work, and don't let all the valuable de-stressing and decompressing you did abroad go to waste when you get to the office.

Now, make like a chicken and: book, book, book!

holiday etiquette

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