The holiday season is fast approaching and it’s a time when most of us take annual leave to enjoy the festivities. It’s a chance to recuperate, unwind and do more of what you enjoy so you can return to work with renewed energy and motivation for the year ahead.
However, whilst this may sound great in theory, the reality is that it’s not always that easy with research revealing that half of us check work emails over the festive period1. As we all know, the temptation of having our laptops and phones close to hand makes it even harder to completely switch off. And that’s especially true this year when more of us are working from home than ever before, and the dividing lines between our work and private lives are increasingly blurred.
Whether you’re taking just one or several days off over the holiday period, it’s important for both your physical and mental well-being to use this time to properly disconnect from work. Not taking the opportunity to unwind can impact every area of your life, from health to personal relationships and can even lead to increased stress and anxiety. Flexible working is something we promote as a company and it’s echoed in the solutions we provide which are specifically designed to support collaboration for dispersed teams.
The good news is that according to research2 employees feel more productive and have increased focus after taking a break. So, what are the best ways to switch off so you can return from leave feeling refreshed and with your batteries fully charged? Here are our 4 top tips:
1. Plan ahead and communicate
In the run up to your holiday, commit to prioritising the tasks that have to be done before your last day. Take the time to discuss your workload with members of your team to understand their priorities and how you can support each other. It’s also worth looking at your priorities for the first few days when you return so you can prepare for these in advance. This will prevent you thinking about outstanding tasks while you’re on leave and means you can hit the ground running when you return.
2. Step away from the technology
During the working week it’s easy to become a slave to your mobile phone or laptop, and always be ready to receive new messages, emails or updates. If you have a separate phone for work, turn it off and put it away somewhere safe for the duration of your leave. If you use the same phone for work and personal, make sure you’ve signed out of email, instant messenger and any work apps that are likely to ping you whilst you’re on leave.
3. Manage expectations
Let your colleagues and customers know when you’ll be away from work and who to contact in your absence. But if you’re someone who can’t seem to avoid checking emails while on leave, try allocating dedicated time periods, such as 10 minutes in the morning and evening, and sticking to this. This is a good way to limit the time you need to check in. If this is the route you take, make sure you also manage the expectations of your friends and family so they know in advance if you’ll need to spend some time working over the holiday period.
4. Plan to relax
As well as preparing to complete any outstanding tasks, it’s just as important to plan what you want to do while on leave and make the most of your time off. Consider what activities help you relax, whether it’s reading a book, exercising, catching up with friends or watching a film – maximise your opportunities to have fun while you’re on leave. The festive season is the time to focus on family and friends and enjoy the fact that you don’t need to juggle work commitments. By taking yourself away from the distractions of work and putting yourself in a totally different environment, you’ll be giving your mind a break too. With the pandemic having impacted on the mental health of many people this year, the feelings of anxiety will be felt just as much over the holiday period and for some, even more so. Remember to check in on anyone you think may need extra support, whether it’s picking up the phone or sending a quick text message.
Whilst many of our team are using the time to switch off and relax, our helpdesk will still be working hard to support those of you who also need to work. We’ll be closed for the key holiday dates, but available between Christmas and New Year (29th – 31st December) via email only at: firstname.lastname@example.org