In a recent leadership conference, we asked how many people worked over their holidays and I would say 90% of leaders put their hands up. This was met by a gasp (and a few giggles) from the room, as the true scale of how ridiculous that was hit home.
Typically, people are expending energy working longer but not recovering energy with adequate downtime. Having a break and enjoying a holiday will actually make us more efficient. The truth is the secret to increased productivity is taking some time off and holidays have been proven to lead to significantly higher performance upon return to the job.
So, hands up if you are planning an enjoyable break from work this Summer, to spend time with people you love, doing things you enjoy? I really hope you are, and I also hope that you have planned and prepared not to work.
Before technology and our “always available” culture, we would prepare for our holiday, for example we would ‘hand over’ to a trusted colleague any critical work and we would leave a voicemail that informs customers of who to speak to, in our absence.
How many of you still do this? From my experience, not enough of you. Instead, because we can be contacted, we lack the discipline and effort of a handover. Plus we don’t want to burden colleagues with our work.
Here’s the thing; just because we can work all the time, doesn’t mean we should. This is incredibly ineffective and unproductive in the long term.
So to enjoy that well earned break, to not feel guilt about a complete switch off and to make sure you know your business is in safe hands for when you get back, here are some tips to achieving that all important work / life balance and ensuring your holidays are effectively recovering your energy:
- Before you leave for your holiday, write a to-do list for when you return so that you are not worrying about work while you are away. This concept also applies on a Friday afternoon, so you can enjoy your weekend and switch off.
- Ensure you adequately ‘hand over’ your work to a colleague. You are not burdening them as this is a reciprocal arrangement, where the team, the company all agree to help each other recover and enjoy holiday time. Decide as a team, how you will work this out.
- Even if people email us at the weekend or while we are holiday, it doesn’t mean we need to respond. If you are going on holiday, put on an autoreply and let people know when they can expect to hear back from you.
- Have a separate work and home phone and leave the work phone in the safe.
- Finally, if you are a leader, ensure your teams have the ‘permission’ not to work on holiday. This is a cultural bad habit that we have gotten into and it needs a leadership steer to get us out of it.
Find out how to get a better balance in your life with Zenergos. What steps will you take to achieve a better work / life balance? Most importantly, relax and enjoy that well-earned holiday. You deserve it!