You don’t need me to tell you that holiday season is upon us and at last the great British weather looks to have cottoned on too. It really was a glorious weekend, and for our Wavemaker team it was a glorious long weekend as we gave everyone ‘Freedom Day’ off to reconnect with their friends and families.
We all know that taking a break from work is critical. But so many of us do not give ourselves the chance to cut off from the pressures and demands of work; relax, recharge, and reconnect with ourselves, our family and friends. None of us are indispensable and none of us can afford not to give ourselves a complete break from work at key junctures throughout the year.
One of my absolute no-no’s is to contact someone who I know is on holiday. I know from my own experience that even ‘just a quick call’ can have a significant impact on my mindset, my ability to relax and my time with my family. Whole days have been ruined with my mind distracted and attention anywhere but where it should be. And most times, I have brought this upon myself by inviting people to contact my while I was away.
Just imagine how it makes your team feel if you spend your holiday chipping in to email chains or texting and calling people to share your thoughts and views. Are they under surveillance? And imagine how it makes the people feel with whom you are taking a break and meant to be spending time with. Are they not worth your full attention? And don’t forget about yourself; you too need to clear your mind and have some headspace to focus on you.
I trust my team implicitly, so when I get to take a break at the end of the summer (one benefit of not having kids is that I can holiday outside of peak season!) I will be asking them not to contact me, and I strongly advise you all to do the same. That means I’ll need to deliver a thorough and detailed handover to my team and clear communications to clients about when I will be away and who to contact in my absence. On reflection it’s amazing how important our own actions are to set the team up for success while we are away and in turn set ourselves up for a chance to switch off, relax and recharge and hopefully enjoy some fun in the sun too.
I’m going to give away a secret here that I learnt from a coach I was working with a few years ago. The coach told me about the power of having a pre-holiday meeting with a team member about to take some much-deserved time off. Seeing a meeting with your team leader go in for the day before your holiday suggests to most people it’ll be a meeting about handover, update on key accounts and what will be happening when you get back. Just imagine how your team member feels when that meeting is nothing of the sort. Instead, the meeting is ten minutes to wish them a happy holiday, ask about their plans for their time off and maybe share a tip or two about a great place to eat or unknown gem in the location they are visiting.
Holiday time is precious, and I believe it is down to each of us to help our colleagues help us have the break we all deserve.
So, all that’s left to say now is that whenever you manage to get a break over the next few months, prepare a quality handover and be strict with yourself about cutting off and have a happy, healthy, and enjoyable break – more than most years, we all really do deserve it.