No one enjoyed the pandemic, but one of the more welcome upsides for many of us has been remote working. It gave us back time we’d have previously spent commuting, we got to spend more time with our families (and pets) and we could carve out time for exercise, hobbies and the things we enjoy doing.
Many people reported higher levels of work productivity too, but one downside to remote working is that it has allowed for a bleed between our home and work lives, and sometimes it can feel like we never switch off. This year, 30% of the UK workforce is working remotely at least once a week, and in 2021, 8% of workers did not enter the office for the whole year – writes Kirstie McDermott, Senior Content Manager, Amply.
It’s just too easy to pop back to the laptop after dinner to answer a few pressing emails, or get that report sent across, particularly if our teams are in different time zones. That can, and does, lead to burnout: in 2020, 59% of workers took off less time than they normally would have, and 69% of people working from home said they had experienced burnout symptoms.
Then there’s the case of the pushy manager. We’ve all worked with someone who just didn’t quite get the fact that work begins at 9am and ends at 5.30pm. Requests fly in at all hours of the night and day and it’s not uncommon to wake up to emails sent at 5.30am with lists of tasks for the day ahead. Does this person ever sleep?
Now that holidays have resumed with gusto – airport dramas aside – getting away for a well-earned break from work is a top priority. It is vital for your mental health to be able to completely switch off and detach from your job so that you can come back to work refreshed.
However, your manager may have other ideas. That work-life bleed many of us have experienced over the past couple of years has, in some cases, also translated into vacation periods. In the UK, employers must ensure that employees are able to take the minimum statutory annual leave entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998, but the bigger challenge may be letting your boss know that you’re not willing to take your laptop with you to the beach.
Here are some strategies for getting those two weeks off, and not checking your email once.
Have a conversation
Uncomfortable it may be, but it’s also necessary. As you prepare to hand over your work to a colleague or wider team, explain to your boss that you won’t be working and will be uncontactable between set dates. To allay any fears they may have, make sure to create a comprehensive handover document, and nominate team members to do all aspects of work that will need attention during your absence. Explain that they will be able to handle any queries, and follow this up with an email outlining all steps, if necessary.
Set up lots of OOOs
Ensure that your out of office notifications are set up on all channels that require them, with plenty of signposts for the information of the relevant people to contact in your absence.
Turn messaging apps to away
Don’t forget to set your Slack status to “Vacationing” and do the same for any other messaging applications your team or clients use to communicate with you.
Don’t pack your laptop or work phone
It’s hard to switch the conscientious button to “off” but make sure that you leave your work laptop and work phone at home. Having them with you is just temptation: you’ll check in, and once you do, you’ll end up answering emails, solving problems and getting sucked back into the stress. The purpose of your holiday is to check out completely, so give yourself the very best chance of doing that.
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