01 July 2021

Are you heading off on holiday soon? After months of hard work, a holiday is a great way to switch off and recharge your batteries. You’ve earnt it and you’ve been looking forward to it since you booked it, so why once you finally arrive at your holiday destination do you find it impossible to fully detach yourself from work?

Many people are guilty of answering phone calls, replying to emails and checking in on how everything is going back at the office whilst they are away on holiday. It is only natural when you care about your job and have the passion to do well, that you want to make sure everything is under control.

It is great to be passionate about your job but learning to switch off is crucial. There is a reason we all need to take breaks; it is proven that people who know how to fully switch off on holiday will come back de-stressed, revitalised and ready to hit the ground running. Wouldn’t you rather come back with a fresh perspective, fully refreshed and feeling 100%, rather than feeling like you never went away?

So, what can you do to fully switch off and take that well-deserved time out?

1. Remind yourself why you booked a holiday

Why did you decide to book that holiday in the first place? Whether it was to spend time with friends and family, explore a new place, relax or tick something off your bucket list, you need to enjoy it to the fullest. You may never get the opportunity again and for many people, holidays only happen once a year. Make the most of your time off and enjoy every moment while you can.


2. Stop feeling guilty

Feeling guilty about being out of the office is one of the main reasons people find it impossible to switch off from work. To avoid the unwanted guilt try to think about it this way- when you were first offered the job you would have been given an offer of employment, which would have included a certain amount of holiday entitlement. Remember your annual leave is there to be used, so make the most of it. Not using your holiday entitlement is the same as taking a pay cut – would you do that? Probably not.

Even if you feel like the guilt will linger while you're away, bear in mind that there are things you can do to make sure you leave the office completely guilt-free.


3. Organising everything before you leave

Before you leave for your holiday you should try to get all of your outstanding work done, that way you can go on holiday feeling like you have accomplished everything you needed to. There is nothing worse than leaving the office and suddenly remembering that you forgot to do something. If you are worried about forgetting to do something before you leave why not make a list of everything you want to achieve before logging off? It sounds simple but it will reassure you and subconsciously help you switch off from anything work-related.

However, if there are things you really want/need to stay in the loop with, just ask your colleagues to forward you updates of everything you seriously need to know about. It is not an ideal situation to open your email on holiday to a string of emails that you cannot physically do anything about.  

Nonetheless, if checking your emails will reassure you, just make sure you only do it once a day and flag the emails that can wait until you get back. Remember, if something is that important and really can’t wait, someone will call you.

Above all, if you make sure your last day is highly productive you will have no reason to take the ‘work guilt’ away with you on holiday.


4. Turn on your ‘out of the office’ and your voicemail

Turning on your ‘out of the office’ is one of the most important things to do when taking annual leave. Even if you are only going to be away for one day it helps to set expectations and lets people know that you won’t be available to take calls or respond to emails. If you are worried about your clients not being able to get hold of you, why not give them a call and let them know how long you are going away? Communicating that you will be out of the office sets clear expectations and you won’t have to worry about people thinking you are ignoring their emails.

On your ‘out of the office’ make sure you direct important enquiries to someone else in your business, to ensure that all important emails are being dealt with as soon as they come in. You can also set rules on your emails to make sure an email from a certain contact is sent to someone else in your business. Alternatively, ask someone to spend five minutes each day checking your email to flag any important messages for when you’re back.


5. Create a good handover

Creating a handover is a great way to ensure that everyone is aligned with what needs to be a priority while you are away. The chances are most things can wait until you are back but ensuring that there is someone who can deal with the important tasks in your absence will help you to switch off more than you think.

If you are thinking about taking work with you- stop now. There is absolutely no reason to and while you’re away people are more than capable of covering for you. When your colleagues go away you probably do a great job covering for them, so there will definitely be someone you can trust to cover for you. A great business is all about teamwork and the business won’t stop functioning just because you aren’t there.


6. Enjoy yourself and live in the moment

Now you have done everything to ensure you can fully switch off from work it’s time to enjoy yourself. Put your feet up, relax and make the most of the time off. Time will fly by and you’ll be back in the office before you know it. Do you really want to go back to work feeling like you never went away? Make the most of every moment and you will thank yourself for it later.

Using these tactics to make the most of your well-earned time off will leave you questioning why you haven’t implemented them sooner. Let us know how you get on and most of all have a great holiday.

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