When is a holiday not a holiday?
When you spend all your time thinking about work, checking on work, talking to work and planning more work. Employers and employees need to set boundaries that allow them to make the most of this important downtime.
Experts agree that we need time to switch off and relax properly. For most of us, that means holiday time – quality holiday time. In fact, it’s becoming ever-more important that we unwind and leave work behind, as we’re often working outside our standard working hours, checking on competitors or opportunities on our phones and constantly available to answer questions or thought things out.
Rules for a relaxing holiday
It can take up to two days to wind down from work – and everyone knows that they start thinking about work before they get back to the office. So, if you take a week’s holiday, you’re likely to only get 3-4 days of really good quality relaxation. That’s why it’s often suggested that a holiday of at least 10 days is better for you, but long holidays are not always practical, so let’s look at a few key rules for making the most of your time away:
- Delegate tasks before you leave – if there are things that absolutely have to be done whilst you’re away, ask a colleague to manage them for you. Make sure your clients or customers know that you’re going to be unavailable and have the contact details for the person they need to deal with in your absence. Anything that can wait, can wait.
- Remove email apps from your phone – you can put them back on again when you get home, but in order to help you resist checking on emails, just take them off – or move them to a screen where you can’t see them.
- Make the most of every minute – whether you’re reading by the pool, climbing the nearest mountain, enjoying the shopping or taking in the local culture, make a real effort to be in the moment. If you feel your mind wandering to work, bring it back to what’s right in front of you. While you’re on holiday, you’re not responsible for what’s happening at the office.
Rules for employers
A good employer will set their own boundaries for holidays and should abide by them. Leading from the top means that good habits will filter through the organisation, so staff will know that their holiday time is safe.
- Don’t contact people while they are away – if you encourage good pre-holiday delegation and planning, your staff shouldn’t have to take work calls whilst they are on holiday.
- Encourage people to take all their holiday – time off is important. Whilst most businesses allow some holiday to be carried over, having lots of holiday left at the end of the year shouldn’t be a mark of how dedicated staff are. It’s far better for your business to have a well-rested team who have a good work-life balance.
- Help them to prepare – think about allowing employees to leave a couple of hours early on the day before they go away, giving them precious additional time for packing or essential shopping.
To find out more about how to introduce and lead a great culture that helps people understand the importance of downtime and wellbeing, talk to us today.