According to research by online travel company Expedia, just 53% of workers come back feeling rested after they’ve been on holiday. When you bring work-related stress on holiday with you, you’re never going to be able to truly switch off. So if you've got a summer holiday coming up, what should you do to switch off and unwind?
Before you leave...
As soon as you know when your last day of work is, make a plan. You don't want to get to that final Friday and have a whole load of loose ends to tie up. Make a list of the priorities you need to take care of before you leave and spend your last week, rather than your last day, taking care of them. The last thing you want to happen is suddenly remember a vital task while you're putting on your sun cream.
And remember to set your 'Out of Office' email!
Keep your stakeholders in the loop
In the week leading up to your holiday, let your clients and colleagues know you're going away and what they can expect while you're not around. Advance planning and managing expectations shows greater consideration to your stakeholders and means that they don't have to panic while you're away.
Part of the fear of switching off comes from worrying about how to get through all those emails and 'urgent' requests upon your return. Research by Travelbag.co.uk reveals that about a third of us waste two days of our holiday worrying about our work emails. To tackle this, assign your clients an alternative point of contact in your 'Out of Office', so anything urgent is dealt with before you get back. This helps your clients and gives you the peace of mind you need to switch off and enjoy your holiday.
While you're away...
Leave your tech behind
Over 30% of holiday makers take their tech poolside to check their work emails. You're never going switch off if you don't literally switch off your phone and laptop. If you've prepared well before you leave there should be no need to check your email.
We often get our best ideas while daydreaming and relaxing, so switching off your phone and giving your brain a chance to kick back could even result in those flashes of insight that will wow your colleagues when you get back. One of the most powerful skills you can develop is learning how to connect the dots in a different way. This is where true insight and innovation happen. Switching off and experiencing all-new sensations, thoughts and environments is a great way to get that new perspective.
But if you need to see your email to be reassured while on holiday, limit yourself to 20 minutes work time in the morning, in your hotel room. Then shut everything down and get out there and have some fun!
Get some perspective
We all like to feel vital to the business we work for, but at the end of the day you are not indispensable. While you are away, other people will cover for you, in much the same way as you cover them. But, this does not mean that someone is going to steal your job. Just think of all the time you've covered for someone else and not stolen their job.
Remember, don't feel guilty about going on holiday. Your holiday entitlement is as much a part of your package as your salary or pension. Remind yourself too that if you work for a great employer, they should want you to take holidays. They want you to return refreshed and ready to tackle work. If you do not take holiday, you are likely to be less productive and more likely to be stressed and burnt-out.
So, if you've got holiday coming up, remember to plan ahead and let the change of environment distract you from all those work woes. And once again, make sure you turn on your 'Out of Office' email!