It’s that time of year when everyone downs tools and heads off for a fortnight lazing in the sun or splashing around in azure blue waters.
Here at Pursuit Software we know that the team works hard all year, so when it comes to holidays we encourage people to make sure they totally switch off from work.
A holiday, away from the ping of work emails and the ringing of the telephone, is a chance to recalibrate and recharge the mental batteries. Heading off on holiday allows staff to clear their heads and completely relax.
Different people will relax in different ways. For some, a holiday is the time to catch up on as many books as possible. The advent of kindle means the suitcase isn’t straining at the seams with 14 hardbacks you’ve been meaning to read.
Other people will see the time away from the desk as a chance to unleash their adventurous spirit Trekking in the Alps, following part (or all) of the Camino de Santiago, walking the Inca Trail. Getting away from it all and putting your body under physical duress is many people’s favoured way of de-stressing the mind.
One huge benefit of a holiday is the luxury of breaking the morning routine. Catching up on sleep, escaping the tyranny of the early-morning alarm, enjoying a leisurely breakfast – these are all small but pleasurable ways of enjoying some time away from work.
Here in the UK, and in many countries across Europe, one of the biggest joys of a holiday is the absence of any commute. Cramped railway carriages and grid-locked roads are a soon-forgotten evil as you wander down to the beach at your own pace.
Perhaps best of all is the lack of meetings to endure. There is no need to sit through interminable power point presentations with an interested look etched on your face as the clock creeps so slowly on.
Across the world, workers do holidays differently. In mainland Europe, there is a general ‘tools down’ throughout August as entire countries go on vacation. While this leads of congestion at the departure points – roads, ferry terminals and airports – it does mean that there is a predictability about the season. Companies can plan accordingly and everyone knows August will be a slow month.
In the USA, holidays tend to be shorter, crammed into a long weekend. This can be a little stressful as a high proportion of time is spent travelling and then there is pressure to cram as much as possible into the few days of holiday time.
Workers in the UK seem to have settled for a half-way house – a two-week vacation, which gives plenty of time to relax but doesn’t mean you have totally forgotten about the demands of work.
However long the break, one thing that employees do not need are any work-related emails from managers. While a full-blown crisis may warrant an employee being contacted on holiday, anything else is a no-no.
That said, we would advise people to spend just a few minutes every so often decluttering their emails. Maybe while the rest of the family is getting ready for dinner, spend a few minutes deleting unwanted messages so that come next Monday morning, as you arrive in the office sporting a golden glow, you are not faced with 5,000 emails. Happy holidays!