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In or Out of Office?

Holiday season is almost upon us and with us the ritual of what every working person does pre-holiday – hand over to colleagues, ensure clients are informed of who is their go-to person while you’re away and make a list of the final tasks, must be undertaken before boarding that flight.

A man lying with his computer on a lilo

Allegedly, a dedicated 15% of workers stay late on the day before they leave for a holiday but that’s all a bit 2008 isn’t it? Today, does anyone really put their ‘Out of Office’ on anymore?

In the age where a smartphone is almost surgically attached to a being, and where Wi-Fi is a given anywhere in the world, should we, and do we really switch off when we should be switching –off?

I personally don’t think we do. Even when I’m out of the office for just a few days, I am continuously checking my inbox – as does my husband, probably much to the annoyance of each other! Last week, my colleague holidayed in Italy and by the 4th day in, she had checked and replied to an email. I sent her a warning text “GET OFF YOUR EMAIL AND ENJOY YOURSELF!”

Clients and suppliers know you are away – you’ve told them in the meetings running up to your departure, everything is covered, they know someone will be on hand to look after their needs. So perhaps it’s us, as individuals who need to train ourselves to be a little less 2014 in our 24/7 contact-ability and more mid 2000s!

Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University, says us Brits are working harder than ever before, “Workers really should take a break every few months otherwise they will burn out, which is bad for them and their employer. People who fail to go on holiday are more likely to become anxious, aggressive and withdrawn.” He adds, “From the employer’s view, an employee who has not been on holiday will become less productive and more prone to mistakes.”

The rather brilliantly named website i-Resign.com, positively encourages working people to take a holiday, claiming a break boosts your health, giving you time to grab back that essential 8 hours sleep a human-being needs, with the added benefit of a good diet and Vitamin D. It also suggests that a break can give you ‘Psychological Fertilisation’; “The top-to-bottom novelty of a foreign culture can reset swathes of mental trip-switches in one go”. Similarly, recruitment firm, Office Angels promotes that all important balanced work-home life. “If you have a stressful job, it is even more important to have time for yourself and your family. You may spend a great many hours in the office during the working week, so it’s important to fully escape it for a few days a year.”

Having a break makes you a better work employer, employee and colleague. Learn to put that ‘Out of Office’ on, turn off Data-Roaming and know that you will return to work a refreshed, engaged and positive working individual.

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