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Out of office, or not out of office, that is the question

Having had a wonderful, but early-in-the-year holiday, I’m now in the position of envying all my co-workers as they sign off for their respective Summer breaks. This also means I’m in the unenviable position of being various people’s out of office contact and having to wade through pages of handover notes.  I don’t really mind, of course. We all get our time in the sun (hopefully!).

Of course, I’m also saying ‘au revoir’, or ‘ciao’, to a number of clients as they set off for warmer and drier climates. With one such client who I met with on her last day in the office, I debated whether switching off completely is the way to go, or whether in fact her anxiety would be better managed by an occasional check-in on emails. This wasn’t the first time this month that I’d heard a similar point of view.

I understand this train of thought completely – but surely if we are ‘getting away from it all’, then we should actually ‘get away from it all’.  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 People who fail to go on holiday are more likely to become anxious, aggressive and withdrawn.”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.”

Aligned with this way of thinking is Angela Lockwood, an occupational therapist, founder of ‘The Place for Health’ and author of the new book ‘Switch Off: How to find calm in a noisy world’, saysOnce we’ve mastered the art of ‘switching off’, we become more focused, more productive and more fulfilled.”

So I’d say that whether you’re glamping it up somewhere in the Peak District or luxuriating in an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas somewhere, just make sure that you do put your ‘Out of Office’ on, turn off Data-Roaming and look forward to returning to work a refreshed, engaged and positive working individual.

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