New research states that half of UK employees don’t take all their annual leave year on year. No great shock there, perhaps, but what might surprise you is why that is the case. The research from recruitment company Glassdoor reveals that the average UK employee sacrifices 6.5 days of their holiday entitlement each year through fear of being out of the office.
With emails never far away and constant news alerts, it’s not easy to switch off in the modern world, but doing so is crucial. Not only will sacrificing your holiday leave impact your personal mental and physical wellbeing, but it will also be detrimental to your work performance. If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to engage, your productivity is declining, and you’re generally working at a slower pace, then you could well be suffering from office burn-out.
Here, financial advisory service Finance.co.uk gives its six tips on how to enjoy your holiday without feeling stressed or worried about what’s happening in the office.
- First, remember that taking a break is tantamount to productivity
“As the old cliché goes, it is important to ‘work smarter and not harder’. Working on the premise that if you keep going for hours on end you will reap the rewards might seem logical, but it’s not sustainable.
“We fully understand that we cannot constantly work on our phones without pausing to charge the device however, we do not apply the same logic to our brains. Our brains are high functioning tools that need recharging. Powering through for hours will in fact lower productivity. The quality of work is always going to be what you are recognised for rather than the notion of producing vast amounts of average work in a short space of time.”
- Planning your break will alleviate the stress
“Preparation is key. Plan your annual leave in advance and prepare for it accordingly. Bosses, colleagues, customers and clients all understand that everybody is entitled to annual leave. They also understand that it is very much needed. Ensure that you distribute assets and information accordingly so that if any unsuspected events occur, you are covered.”
- Don’t worry about worrying
“Many believe that they will not be able to relax once they have headed to the beach and therefore see no point in taking leave. It is amazing how little changes when you are out of the office for a couple of weeks. Those vital tasks that a client demands? Turns out they can wait. The client catch-up calls? A solid handover can ensure that they are always up to speed.”
- Don’t login to the free Wi-Fi
“The prospect of free Wi-Fi can make it almost impossible not to check your emails. A quick response to a couple of emails can seem harmless. However, you are bound to get a reply and before you know it you are one step away from your laptop accompanying you to your sun lounger. Responding to emails puts you in the ‘workplace mindset’. The feeling of a break is soon diminished once this mindset is attained. It is also worth baring in mind that once you position yourself as contactable throughout your holiday, then you cannot complain when the office frequently touches base. Turn on the out of office and keep it there.”
- Delegate and post-holiday workload won’t feel like a mountain
“Dread the workload once you return to the office? No problem if you delegate accordingly. A simple to-do list for each relevant colleague will avoid a mountain of work upon your office return.”
- Finally, remember that being ‘busy’ doesn’t make you better at your job
“It has somewhat become engrained in workplace culture to voice how busy you are. It’s such a common phrase that it’s almost used to seek approval from peers and as a medium to reinstate your importance within the workplace and exert authority. If you’re worried that people will think less of you for going on holiday, then it’s important to remember that the same people will take holiday at some point too. They will always remember the quality of your work over the amount of annual leave you have taken.”
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK