Do you use all of your annual leave entitlement each year?
Most people will answer no. In fact, most people will only use half or three quarters of their holiday entitlement each year. Is it due to dedication, hustling for the next big break, or just a habit that has developed over the years? Whatever the reason, this habit of not taking annual leave can be hard to break and runs the risk of burnout.
Time away from the office can benefit all employees, and that example needs to start at the top. If employees never see leaders taking a day off and working long nights and weekends, they will assume they need to follow suit. It starts with leading by example will help confirm to employees that holidays are encouraged.
“The way I convince myself to take a break, and how I’d advise others to do the same, is reminding yourself that rest is a performance enhancement, not an inhibitor,” Tony Gauda CEO of threat security firm ThinAir. Taking holidays helps prevent burnout, physically, mentally and emotionally. Being away from your job or business will give you time to miss it and when you get back you’ll be full of excitement and new ideas. After all our best ideas come when you remove yourself from a situation and are relaxed.
Sign Off From Work
You can’t really relax and recharge if you always have your to-do list in the back of your mind. To really get the most benefit from your holiday you need to switch off. I know this can be easier said than done. Technology enables us to access anything we want, wherever we are, but a necessary ingredient for recharging your batteries on holiday is mentally disengaging from work. It’s not enough to physically leave the office, you have to mentally leave the office too.
Best Email Practice
This is a hard one as your emails don’t take a holiday. Having a plan in place for how to cover them so that you don't return to thousands of messages can help.
If you get anxious about the mountain of emails that will be waiting for you when you get back to work, you will also have trouble chilling out. If you really have to check emails then set healthy boundaries. Once every three or four days, check your email and delete anything you can dispense with immediately. Then, reply quickly to anything that can be addressed with a simple, token response, and mark as unread anything that needs some thought and should be tackled when you get back. This helps cut the mountain of emails down to a small pile, which will put your mind at ease and allow you to unwind.
When you set your out of office message, make sure you include the details of who people can contact if they need an urgent response. Also, a hot tip can be to not take your out of office message off the day you return. Instead, leave it on for a day longer so that you have the chance to get back on top of things and clear email backlog.
Empower People You Trust to Make Decisions on Your Behalf
Being able to relax on holiday and return to work rejuvenated requires a little bit of forward planning.
Reach out to your major clients, partners, vendors etc and let them know you’re going on holiday and who they should contact in your absence. Share and assign any important unresolved tasks with colleagues. Empower them to step up and take control. Enlisting a few colleagues rather than one could also help manage the workload much more effectively. You can then feel confident that projects will stay on track and your clients will know that their work is being left in capable hands.
Overload - Have A Holiday Planned
If you are left holding the reins, one of the greatest ways to avoid overwhelm at work is to have your own holiday planned. Researchers from the Netherlands found that the simple act of planning for a holiday, led to a large boost in happiness, and that happiness lasted for eight weeks. Taking regular leave reduces stress, improves productivity and general wellbeing. "Taking leave is also associated with greater life satisfaction, particularly because time off often provides us with the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, experience new things or new ways of being,” Joanna Fishman, Director of Associated EAP.
Can’t get overseas? Staycations are great!
But change up from the daily grind! The main mistake people make during holidays at home is that they stay in their routine. They cook, they clean, they watch TV. If you stay at home for your holiday shake things up. Visit local tourist attractions. Eat different foods. Take day trips. Mixing things up and getting out of your normal routine can make a staycation feel as fun and rejuvenating as an overseas holiday.
Foster a Culture of Wellness
Most importantly, taking a break shows all other employees it’s okay to do so and that the company values it. A culture of wellness leads to increased engagement and less turnover. Do yourself and your company a favour by taking some well-deserved time off. Recharge yourself and come back to your company more energized and innovative than before. Plan ahead, leave the stress behind (as much as possible) and go enjoy yourself!
Looking for a great way to boost morale at your workplace during winter? Then check out the workshops we have available here at Wellbeing Workshop.