Step away from the email, you’re on holiday!

We’ve all been there.  Sharing count down updates on Facebook to let everybody know that ‘This time next week I’ll be sunning myself in…’

The reality is that for many, the run up to taking your holiday can be stressful, particularly if you are have a demanding job.  We work too many hours, are under resourced and in some cases, feel guilty we are leaving our colleagues in the lurch by taking a well earned break.

But for some, switching off can be hard to do.

Don’t be that person

We all know that someone who has announced two weeks prior that they are going on holiday.  There is almost a daily reminder that says ‘Don’t’ forget, I’m on holiday soon’.
Meeting invites are rejected with the smug message ‘I’d love to attend (lies) but I’m on leave’.

Their last day in the office (usually a Friday) arrives and the Out of Office is switched on at 6pm sharp.  Everything is planned.  Or so we think…

Said person however (even with their Out of Office switched on)  but continues to work well into the night sending last minute emails of things they have ‘just remembered’. The recipients of those emails groan, probably email back with threats to cut off email access and a firm instruction to ‘Go on holiday and enjoy yourself’!

Common sense tells us to get ourselves organised before we go on holiday to maximise the enjoyment of sunning ourselves on a beach with a cocktail in hand or relaxing at home watch back to back episodes of our favourite shows on Netflix.

Plan ahead

Carving out time in the week before your holiday to make sure you can organise your hand over notes (if needed), clear out those important emails and set yourself up for a blissful holiday takes preparation.  Last minute ‘Annie’ will not do you any favours here.

On your last day of work you should not schedule back to back meetings or conference calls.  Set a time to get all your meetings out of the way so that you can a good few hours to organise your inbox and write a really witty Out of Office message.

Unless you are the President or at the very least the CEO of your company…

Is it really necessary for you to be available for work issues while you are away?  If there is no getting away from it, agree with your boss up front what constitutes an emergency so you don’t get needless phone calls or text messages. Any good line manager would enforce that their team takes time off and would be loathe to do anything to encroach upon that.

If there are genuine reasons why you may need to be available to deal with emergencies, agree with your boss up front what constitutes an emergency.

Emergencies, for example, are not the following:

  • Not being able to find a spreadsheet or document.
  • Wanting the email address of a client.
  • Someone in your team being late for a dentist appointment.
  • Minutes or notes from a previous meeting (that you never attended in the first place).
  • Requests to find out where the office stapler or calculator disappeared to ‘sorry to bother you but can you remember where you saw it last?’

I think you get the drift.


Remember why your holiday is important

According to Psychology today, in a lifetime we will spend 90,000 hours at work.  That doesn’t include overtime.

It’s not just about enjoying the sun, sea and sand.  It’s an important opportunity to re-charge your batteries and spend some quality time with friends and family away from the temptation of social media, work calls and emails.

I am working parent and like many people, I struggle to balance a demanding job with spending quality time with my family.  For every moment I check that email or take that phone call from work whilst I’m on holiday, I am prioritising work over my family. Being on holiday should be our sacred time but sometimes we have to work hard to protect it.

The English Tourism Council undertook a study to look at the health benefits of a 7 day holiday. Some of the findings are as follows:

  • Anyone who was feeling depressed or anxious about work found a holiday helped them put things into perspective.
  • Couples who were experiencing relationship difficulties, found that going on holiday (or taking time away from work) helped them communicate better.
  • Someone struggling with insomnia was able to sleep for a month straight after their holiday without taking sleeping pills.

Moral of the story?

Don’t feel guilty for wanting to switch off from work when you’re on holiday.  Whether you are jumping on a plan to a place of sun, sea and sand or staying home to pottering about  in your garden, enjoy it.

It will be over before you know it.  Your boss can cope without you for a while and those all-important emails will be waiting for you when you get back.

Step away from the email, you’re on holiday!

outoor garden

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