In this ultra-connected world, it’s important that we switch off from work when we can. After all, people with a satisfying work-life balance enjoy better physical and mental health. And there’s no better way to escape the rat race than by taking a holiday.
So, why are we still stowing our laptops in our suitcases? And why do we sneak glances at our work phones during family breakfasts?
When we don’t take the time to disconnect from work, we risk burnout. So, to make the most of your holiday, you need to draw boundaries — with the office but also with yourself.
Here are Saro Recruitment’s tips for disconnecting from the workplace and getting quality downtime, whether it’s a trip away or a staycation.
Have you ever struggled to finish up a major project before your break? Faced with a long to-do list, you may be tempted to pack your laptop with your beachwear. But it’s a slippery slope to scrolling through your work emails while your family frolic outside.
Treat those holiday dates in your calendar like a black hole, where no work can happen. Several weeks before you leave, start to tie up any loose ends and put together a handover document. Ask a trusted colleague to be your backup and fill them in on any ongoing projects or deadlines.
Is there nothing more satisfying than setting up your out of office message? It’s the last defence of the perfect, relaxing holiday. This is your chance to let everyone know that you are taking a well-earned break.
Make sure your automatic reply directs people to contact your backup colleague for urgent tasks. And if possible, make it clear you won’t be checking your inbox while you’re away.
But what if there’s an emergency your backup colleague can’t deal with? Don’t be tempted to add your personal phone number to your outgoing message. Instead, entrust it to your backup and agree in advance on what constitutes an emergency — and what can wait until you are back.
If you’re a chocoholic and you’re desperate to cut down, having chocolate in your house can clobber your willpower. And the same goes when you bring your work phone on holiday. Before you know it, you’ll be scrolling through your work emails and your mind will be back in the office.
So why not leave your work phone and laptop behind? Yes, these days there are other ways to sneak a peek at your work emails. But if your devices are out of sight, it will help you keep work out of mind too.
But what if your work phone doubles up as your personal phone, or if you’re staying at home? In this case, you should switch off all work app notifications. And ask your backup colleague to call you if there are any emergencies.
Even though your body may not be physically at your desk, you might find your mind wandering towards work even when you’re poolside. Or maybe instead of enjoying a hike with your family, you’re fretting about that project you left behind. You sneak a peek at your work emails just in case you forgot something and bang — you’re sucked back in.
Going on holiday is the perfect opportunity to recharge those batteries and to recuperate. But that won’t happen if your mind is elsewhere. If this all sounds too familiar, mindfulness techniques can help you stay present in the here and now.
The next time your mind drifts towards work, draw your attention back to the task at hand. Whether you’re sightseeing or having a staycation meal with your family, make sure to take in your surroundings. And instead of fretting about what’s to come, focus your mind on what’s happening right now.
So, you’re back at your desk, still nicely chilled after your break. You switch on your computer to find your inbox bursting at the seams with urgent emails. Immediately your holiday feeling is wiped out by a growing panic about the pile of work ahead.
But before you dive in, grab a cup of coffee with your backup colleague first. Ask them to bring you up to speed on what happened while you were away and what’s urgent.
Then, block some time in your calendar to catch up with it all. And make sure to grab lunch away from your desk to keep that holiday spirit going.
If you and your work phone are surgically attached, going on holiday can make you feel a bit lost. Instead of relaxing and recuperating, you may find yourself fretting about work and checking your emails. But not taking the time to switch off can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.
It’s not enough to just leave the office — you must disconnect mentally as well. Doing a handover of your tasks before you leave is essential, as is setting up a clear out of office message. If you leave your work devices at home, you’ll be refreshed, revitalised and more productive on your return.
Has taking time away from the office made you realise it’s time to upgrade your career? At Saro Recruitment, we’re focused on finding the right job that fits you like a glove. We meet all our candidates personally to ensure we find their perfect position.
12 July 2019