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Unplugged: why your holiday should really mean you are out of office

Thomas Davies

20 July 2017


I just got back from a wonderful holiday with my family and friends, and one of the keys to enjoyment for me was the ability to detach from the office and focus on the fun and relaxation of the holiday experience.

But for many, a summer holiday can often be work just from another location. Here are three things I do to switch off and recommend to my employees as ways to enjoy your holidays. and recharge.

1) Confirm your time off and prioritise

Once you’ve booked your holiday time, take a look at what can and doesn’t need to be done. It is really important to meet with your management and dotted-line collaborators to confirm you will be out of the office and be unreachable (then you have to really be unreachable).

There is always the urge to try and clear the ‘action list’ of things to do before you leave for holiday; rather than that, stick to a prioritisation of work based on what is important to do now as opposed to things that distract you - there is no such thing as a finished list so don’t stress yourself just before you go on holiday!

2) Unplug!

You have confirmed your time off and picked a great location for holiday with your family and/or friends. Now, it is up to you to actually unplug.  

Do you have a personal phone? Remove your work email from that phone, or turn off notifications. It’s up to you to really be present on your holiday and let yourself recharge. If you reply to emails out of the time frame that you said you would respond (see above), you have taught your team that your time is flexible and you are willing to put work first.  

While this sounds a small thing to reply quickly to one email here or there, it will have a heavy effect on your holiday. That quick email may linger in your mind for a few hours and then you have sacrificed more of your precious leisure time back to the business; which is counter-productive as really, it can wait. Really, it can.

3) Set a new goal

As much as we try to go on holiday and not think about work, sometimes it can’t help but creep in. This is your opportunity to analyse what is going well and what can be improved for both your work life and your home life.

It may be that you want to set a goal to be able to get home earlier to have dinner with your family or partner, and then get back online after dinner and the kids have gone to bed. Or walk an extra tube stop, cycle to to the train station, or take the stairs at the office, for a way to sneak in some extra exercise. It might be a goal to take a project at work to the next step.

Whatever it may be, this is the time to relax, get recharged and come back ready to nail your new focused goal.

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