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How to Work Your Notice Period

(And Stay Positive)

The notice period is part of your employment contract and will be noted in there. (I hope you remembered my advice at the start of your job search to download your employment contract BEFORE you start looking for a new job so you have to hand during your search).

The notice period protects both yours and your (now previous) boss’s interests.   Your boss gets some time to start finding a replacement for you (a hard task no doubt!), and they are able to reorganise and prepare for your departure .

The notice period in your contract is also there to protect you by honouring the notice period, sending you on gardening leave, or paying you in lieu of notice.                            

How to work your notice period in a professional way
Ideally get your managers perspective on what they want you to be involved in whilst you are serving your notice period.  If you are leaving for a direct competitor, they may well prefer you to be on gardening leave, or, they may prefer you to work but not on your desk (prepare to spend four weeks filing!).  If you are leaving for another sector of recruitment, they may want you to continue working your desk as normal until you leave.

Over the years I have heard all sorts of weird and wonderful notice period stories – the main thing to keep in mind is that if you are leaving to work for a competitor you must be mindful of your covenants and be extra careful not to do anything that could give the impression that you are breaking, or intending to break them.

During your notice the usual rules of good professional conduct apply:
• Keep good attendance
• Be on time for work as usual
• Remain focused on your work
• Remain polite, professional and hardworking
• Return any company property in good time and in good order (laptops, phones, cars etc)

Maintain relationships
Ask key clients if they would be happy to write you a recommendation for LinkedIn (unless you are leaving for a competitor company as this may be considered a breach of your covenants).  
Ask colleagues that you worked closely with if they would write you a recommendation or be a referee for you too

Remain diplomatic
If you are asked to participate in an exit interview, it’s best to remain diplomatic.  Aim for a good balance between truth and tact.  Your (now ex) employer will be more likely to take your comments on board if they are presented as constructive criticism rather than a list of all the issue’s you’ve bought up in your 1-1s that have never been listened to.

Try and aim to take the moral high ground, especially if you’re planning to ask for a recommendation or professional reference.

Leave a Lasting Positive Impression
Sending thank you notes and emails to key people in the business, writing recommendations on LinkedIn for those you worked with closely, and taking the time to say your goodbyes in person or via email is a great way to leave a business whilst protecting your reputation and relationships.  

Leaving with a positive impression is very important – you never know what will happen, companies are frequently bought and merged, and people move jobs and industry sectors frequently. You may want to return to the business at a later date, or, you may end up working with the same colleagues in another business in the future.

You will have learned so much in this role, (even if you feel it is how NOT to do things!)


Remember, you’ve left for a reason.  Be proud that another company as recognised your ambitions, and thankful for the opportunities you’ve had in this role, and proud of yourself for setting a career target and achieving it in this next move.

Onwards and good luck!

NB this page is not legal advice it is general advice around notice periods, taken from various websites and our professional knowledge.  For redundancy or specialist advice around restrictive covenants, redundancy contact ACAS, Citizens Advice, or an employment solicitor.
Posted by: Frankland Associates 0 comment(s)

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