The Art of Holidays

Date: 23 Jun 2015

Did you know that the average UK employee only uses 77% of their annual leave per year, meaning we’re losing on average 6.5 days every year?  Did you also know that of those employees who used their annual leave, 44% said that they undertook some work while on holiday?

We all know the holiday drill: pack your beach towel, swimwear, sun cream, sandals, smartphone, laptop… Just so we can ‘occasionally’ check what’s happening at work.  But what is this doing to our morale? Is the art of holidays lost? Are we really vacationing or just changing scenery?

For most of us, checking emails and responding to work enquiries isn’t necessity… It’s because we can.  For most of us, we’re also preparing ourselves for when we return to work greeted by an inbox full of requests. While there is no doubt that technology has become an enabler in helping us to keep in touch, there is a knock-on effect. Before we know it, reading an email quickly becomes responding to an email, acting on it and then following up (two days later) – a slippery slope!

It’s therefore important to understand that turning on our ‘out of office’ while we’re on annual leave doesn’t mean we’re less committed. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There’s nothing courageous about burning out – it serves neither the people we work for nor ourselves. Our holidays are actually a chance for us to relax, reset and recharge, enabling us to return to work with a renewed energy and ready to perform at our very best.

So whether you’re jetting off or simply enjoying a few days to yourself or with your family and friends, make sure you enjoy your holiday and relax.

We’ve also included a few ideas and suggestions for preparing your work before your holiday too!

Have a fantastic summer!

Tips for preparing your work before your holiday.

Make a plan of important work tasks. Up to two weeks before your holiday, make a list of any important projects or tasks that need to be completed before your holiday. It’s helpful to book out time on your calendar to work on these ‘must be done’ actions too. Make sure your colleagues are aware you will be away from the business and set expectations about last-minute requests leading up to your holiday.

Find cover and set aside time for training. If your work requires cover while you are away from the business, be sure to identify the right colleague and set aside time to train your colleague for taking on additional responsibilities and work.  If possible, it’s helpful to set realistic expectations with your colleagues who rely on your work and to minimise requests during this period.

Set your ‘out of office’ automatic reply. Outlook is great and you can pre-schedule an automatic response for internal and external messages during a set time period. The messages can be customised and enabled in advance so it’s one less task to do before you leave.

Shut down your computer. Our holidays are an opportunity for us to relax, spend time with our friends and family and to recharge, before returning to work with a renewed energy, excitement and enthusiasm.  Once your holiday preparation is complete, make sure you shut down your computer and tune out – or rather, tune back into yourself!