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Recent studies have shown that up to 80% of those that take time off for a summer holiday hinder their time off due to thinking about or actually doing work. While some CEOs will be blowing their horn for those members of staff that go ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty, productivity studies show that overall productivity from those that take their work with them on vacation time end up being less productive than their counterparts that enjoy their holiday time.

Here’s why most people take their work with them on holiday

  1. There’s no one else in the business that can do my job.
  2. I have to be on call for when people have questions to ask while I’m on holiday.
  3. I’m doing it for the brownie points

Do any of the above situations sound familiar to you? If so, just stop. Stop right now. What the hell are you doing? 1) unless you are a brain surgeon – it can wait. 2) unless you are a brain surgeon – it can wait. 3) You’re doing it wrong.

As we mentioned in the opening paragraph; people that relax and enjoy their holiday are the ones that return to work happier and more productive. I can vouch for this from my own personal experiences. I mean, I LOVE my work, but after several months of work day in and day out, fatigue can start to set in – I don’t mean just working slower, I personally found (not realising until after holiday) that once I came back from having a holiday, I felt stress free and the ideas were just flowing! In fact, I hadn’t even completed my holiday and my brain had naturally starting thinking of new ideas – that, I would say, is your ultimate goal; well rested enough that you naturally get a feel for when you are ready to starting working again.

Break the habit

If you’ve read this far and you don’t ‘get it’, then stop reading now, because honestly, you’re wasting your time and you’re not ready to understand how to have a better holiday.

  1. Delete work related instant messenger, thus, stopping the ability for you to just ‘drop in’ on conversations and visa versa with your colleagues.
  2. Do not check your work email more than once a day. And, don’t check it until night time, so not to spoil your day out with family/friends
  3. Out of the office messages work well, if you write something that people will read and take note of. For example, make people understand that you are on holiday and only answering important emails.
  4. Have a ‘holiday inbox’. As well as explaining to people (as per point 3) that you are on holiday, you should also point out that if it is important, they should email an ’emergency inbox’ – this is the ONLY inbox you should read while on holiday.
  5. Before you go on holiday – get your affairs in order, thinking about those that may want questions answered over the next week or so of you being on holiday. This will help to keep surprises to the minimum while on holiday.
  6. Can’t HO/TO before holiday begins? Perhaps it’s worth while handing over some short terms tasks to someone else, or at least making sure that those that may need to contact you can talk to one of your colleagues that can help with any short term issues or questions while you are away.

Time to relax

That’s it, all done. So, start enjoying your holidays and think about work less. Both you and your colleagues will thank you for it. Besides, no one likes to see a zombie slouched over their desk at work! Remember; if you really, really need to talk to people, make it a conference call so you can have 1 main call and everyone who’s needed, can be involved, rather than talking to several people over several phone calls and having to continuously repeat yourself.