Getting away?

With brexit negotiations in chaos and football fever at full pitch you may feel as though you need a holiday.

Taking time out – how hard can it be? It’s summer, August is approaching fast.  August is the holiday month, if we’re not away, we still can’t escape, much of the working population will be “out of office”. The holiday period might be a quiet time for those who are left at work, providing a great opportunity to catch up and tidy up, or it might be doubly hectic as those left behind manage the same workload with less cover.

So, how hard is it to take time off? If you’re a manager, business owner or board director then the contracted holiday entitlement may be wishful thinking but is nevertheless important and arguably necessary to all others to ‘step up’ to their role.

And when you do get away, the office sometimes comes too. These days we can be plugged in 24/7. Laptops and smart phones mean it is impossible to avoid keeping in touch, a blessing maybe or perhaps a curse? Much is said about limiting children’s, time and a recent move to ban smart phones from schools was recently reported, but what about the workforce? We know what is good for us, but do we take our own advice?

Managers feel the pressure from both sides, wanting and needing to support their teams and being under pressure to respond to senior management who might be wanting an instant response to the latest business problem or challenge. A Guardian article https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/manage-workloads-over-holiday-season explores this issue, reporting that in 37% of cases it is the manager that assumes the responsibility for the work load created by team members taking leave.

So, what to do?

  • Plan and have a backup plan
  • Prioritise
  • Delegate
  • Set (flexible) boundaries
  • Communicate

Communicate clearly: what is expected of colleagues while you are away and how you will manage your availability when on leave. Don’t assume that every request (from customers, direct reports and the board) is urgent, check and agree a reasonable time acceptable to all parties. Everyone understands that an immediate response when on holiday isn’t always possible. It is likely that some things can wait, and others can be rescheduled.

Relaxing on holiday can be about setting boundaries which can require practice. Start while you are in the office and perhaps stick to agreed times you want to take a lunch break or leave work at the end of the day. Notice how hard this is. Being clear and taking responsibility for how you manage yourself along with demonstrating your faith in your team.

Perhaps one solution is to use the same management skills at work and at home. If you do need to keep in touch with the office be clear how this will happen, each day? Decide and agree what will work for everyone and have a backup for when things don’t go to plan.

The stress of going on holiday, the travel – often long-haul flights at anti-social hours and then all the things that can go wrong … this is for another post but remember, you can always call your legal help line. Law Express is there to help you not only keep in line with current employment legislation but also to provide advice on … XXX  

Happy holidays!

2018-07-17T11:06:08+00:00July 10th, 2018|