When it’s that time of the year when you and your team are taking some time off, it’s inevitably when work and projects might slow down. It could be over the summer, over the Christmas period or maybe in your business, it’s particularly prominent during the Easter break or school half-term breaks.
These are all times of year to look forward to having a break, spending time with loved ones and enjoying a holiday and rest. But it doesn’t always feel like that.
It’s all too common to see business owners and staff not fully switch off on holiday and either:
- Keep working while they’re away, or
- Keep thinking about work while they’re away
Does this sound familiar?
It’s frustrating – and exhausting – to not fully feel the benefits of having a break and feeling like you can’t or don’t want to switch off while you’re away.
We’re diving into the proven benefits of taking time off and how to take practical steps to be able to step away from work and business confidently, without the need to check in during your break.
The Proven Benefits of Rest
The positive benefits of a holiday, rest and recovery have been heavily researched over the years, and especially since the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have seen a spike in awareness around the need to make our health a priority as well as being passionate about and committed to our work and businesses.
Here are just some of the physical, mental and emotional benefits of taking time off, whether that’s a holiday abroad or a stay-cation wherever you are.
Multiple long-term and in-depth studies have proven the positive effects of taking holiday and the impact of taking some rest on improving heart health and reducing the risks of heart-related problems. Holidays are also attributed to reducing stress hormones in our body which can have a knock-on effect on our wider physical health.
Especially if your typical work days involve sitting at a desk most of the time, having a change in routine, taking in different surroundings and moving around physically (even just by walking a little more) has ample benefits on your physical health, too.
Mental & Emotional Happiness
Interesting, it’s not only the holiday that contributes to better mental & emotional well-being, but some research shows it also boosts mental health during the lead-up to a holiday.
A break from mental activity on a daily-micro level as well as longer breaks has been shown to elevate not only feelings of anxiety and stress, but improve energy levels and increase productivity at work.
Taking a break also enables some much-needed headspace. This improves focus, the ability to engage in creative thinking and also impacts how we communicate with others and feel about ourselves.
Enabling Switch-Off Time: The 3 C’s
Some of the main reasons people don’t take time off, or become more stressed leading up to and coming back from holiday, is all around the anticipation of work going wrong, and sometimes, the trust in others to do it.
It’s important to build a business model and company culture that plugs the gap between people and ops on macro and micro levels so resilience, continuity and ability are woven into how the business functions. This enables all types of foreseen and unforeseen staff absences and changes to go smoothly.
Here are our 3 C’s on ensuring continuity while you’re on holiday and how to get that all-important switch-off time.
Communicate any handover clearly. Don’t leave anything to presumption, or assume a colleague will know the details of what needs to be done.
Whether you’re handing over the care of your inbox, client account management or completing that software build, allow plenty of time to document what needs to be done to continue work as normal so there is no business or commercial impact.
Importantly – if this applies to your business – ensure your customers and clients have a route of communication for important and urgent requests.
This also gives peace of mind that when you get back to work, there are no misunderstandings to pick up, deal with or fire-fight.
Here at Nuvem9, we like to approach this with a pay-it-forward mentality – whoever is able to take over work in the team with the necessary knowledge and skills, does so fully and knowing that someone else in the team does this for them when they are away.
When there are proven structures, systems and processes in place, it makes things so much easier when one of the team are away.
Visibility over workflows, collaborative working platforms and business planning that consciously factors in staff time away builds the foundations for the confidence that everything continues to run smoothly – and everyone has what they need to get jobs done well.
It’s also a good idea to have a ‘flag if urgent’ process. If something happens that you and only you can deal with, have a process that all your team is aware of to flag up anything you need to see. For example, create an urgent-only WhatsApp group so you’re accessible, without having to run down your (possibly hundreds) of emails to see if anything urgent has come in – this allows you to be accessible and switch off at the same time.
This confidence is largely impacted by the tech and cultural ecosystems in place overall but contributes heavily to resilience, continuity and effective working all year round.
Now work is sorted, it’s time to take care of you!
- Notifications: Change how your phone, tablet, laptop and other devices deliver notifications to you. Take slack and email notifications off the lock-screen, turn off sound and badge indicators, or anything else that will pull your attention away from you and your holiday.
- Auto-Reply: If it’s your style put an out of office on that clearly and helpfully directs incoming mail to other areas of the business. This way, you know anyone emailing you will get the support they need.
- Return to Work Day: Block your diary out on your first day back, so you know you have the time and space to catch up with your team, email and any other correspondence. Don’t be tempted to do this before you get back, or it might just play on your mind over your holiday!
Planning your time out of the office can sometimes feel apprehensive, but remember that time out is essential to your health as well as for your business, making it a business essential.
Now, time to relax, kick back and spend time doing some of those things you enjoy. Where will your next adventure take you?
Are you looking to improve the work-life balance in your team? Check out these 3 ways to get biz-fit for tips on optimising staff and business well-being.
Main Image Credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann
Hammock Image Credit: Photo by Zach Betten