At this time of year many of us are about to go on holidays – possibly early next week or maybe even today will be our last day of work. After a hectic year we might feel a sense of relief or at the other end of the spectrum somewhat anxious due to everything that needs to be done before we can actually leave work and start our holiday.
Whatever the status is, it’s important that we have a few basic items planned and organised at work so that we can actually use the holiday to relax, recharge our batteries, enjoy with family and loved ones etc.
However, how often hasn’t that been the case while we are on holidays?
Have we been contacted by our work?
Have we been unable to disconnect from work? (Are we contacting work?)
Have we been a victim of circumstances?
Or are we actually central to the problem ourselves?
The reality is having to either think about or engage with work during our holiday has probably been caused by more than 1 specific item alone.
There are productivity benefits of taking a holiday. A study from CCH Human Resources Management found that nearly 40% of workers “feel more productive and better about their job” when they return from a holiday. However, the same study also found that nearly 20% of workers cancelled or postponed their holiday due to their job.
What can we do to lessen the likelihood of being contacted by our work or having to think too deeply about our work whilst we’re on holiday?
We’ve got to start by having a plan:
- Schedule the holiday in our calendar – this is non-negotiable and backward schedule everything from it (remember critical high impact important work 1st)
- Deliverables – what will be finished or what will we need to delegate, renegotiate or ignore?
- Key stakeholders – who are the key stakeholders we need to proactively inform of the dates of our holiday
- Escalation and delegation – what will be the procedure to escalate and delegate important items while we are away?
- Message on our phones (office and mobile) – on our voicemail will we leave a message referencing who to contact while we are away?
- Out of office on our email – add it and reference who to contact while we are away
- In case of emergency – some criteria what an emergency means and to contact us only then
- A plan for when we get back to work – if we don’t have a plan of what key pieces of work we’ll be doing when we return then there’s a very good chance this has the potential to take up too much thinking time during the holiday
While on holiday:
- Online access – with the connected world we live in it’s really easy to be able to access emails, servers etc from basically anywhere. We need to be disciplined and either resist the temptation or limit the amount of time we’ll be online (spending half a day online whilst on holidays is often an easy way to quickly get a partner offside….). Conversely technology can also help us as I know of people who recently had return travel delayed for days due to the Bali volcanic ash and they were able to work online during this time
- Maybe some reading – holidays is often a good time to catch-up on some work related reading (nothing too deep though) Many years ago whilst on a tropical holiday I was really enthralled from reading the book The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
To increase the possibility of having an uninterrupted holiday then being organised and having a plan is central to success.
Happy holidays Merry Xmas and to everyone.