Leave Management

Switch off to Recharge: Importance of Annual Leave

Imagine the scene: you're on a sunny beach, cocktail in hand, listening to the calming waves. Sounds like the perfect holiday scene, right? But then, your email notification pings, ruining that tranq...
Mandy WebbPosted on Thursday, April 18th 2024

Imagine the scene: you're on a sunny beach, cocktail in hand, listening to the calming waves. Sounds like the perfect holiday scene, right? But then, your email notification pings, ruining that tranquil moment, and you're suddenly back in the working mindset - dealing with queries instead of enjoying your well-deserved break. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. In today's always-on culture, it can be challenging to fully switch off during annual leave. However, unplugging from work and taking time to recharge is vital for our wellbeing.

The Risk of Burnout

Living in a digital age where we're always connected can leave us never fully present in the moment. This can be detrimental during our holidays; a time that should be dedicated to rest and relaxation. Failing to properly disconnect from work can lead to increased stress levels and even burnout. This is not just a cliché; it's a real condition recognised by the World Health Organisation, and characterised by feelings of exhaustion, cynicism about one's job, anxiety and reduced work performance. A whopping 65% of us experienced burnout at some point during 2023. Allowing yourself the downtime can go a long way in alleviating these feelings, and encouraging an all important healthy work-life balance.

Preparing For Time Off

So, how can you ensure that you fully switch off during your annual leave? Preparation is key. Start by making a list of tasks that need to be completed before you leave, and share this with your team. Ensure that everyone is aware of your upcoming absence and delegate any tasks as needed. Setting an out-of-office reply on your email is another simple step, but it's one that's often overlooked. In fact, half of us forget - with just 45% of workers making sure they set their OOO every time they have planned time off. This small task helps to manage the expectations of colleagues and clients alike, letting them know that you won't be responding to emails until you return, whilst also taking the pressure off feeling you need to check your emails during your break.

The Benefits of Switching Off

Disconnecting from work during your annual leave allows your mind and body to rest and recover, reducing stress and increasing overall wellbeing. It can also boost creativity and productivity -when you're not constantly in work mode, you're able to see things from a different perspective. This can lead to new ideas and solutions that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise. Taking time off to enjoy life outside of work no doubt improves our mood and can contribute to better job performance on return.

Embrace The Right To Disconnect

While it can be tough to disconnect in a world so switched on, remember that you have the right to switch off. In fact, France has made this a law - known as the 'right to disconnect', this allows employees to ignore work emails outside of working hours. This serves as a good reminder that we should all take time to unplug and recharge throughout the year.

Shockingly 1 in 8 of us don't take our entitled leave each year, with 61% of workers not using their full allowance in 2o23 alone. Adopting a time management system can encourage employees to plan and book their leave throughout the year, see who else in their team is off and check how many days are remaining, rather than forgetting they exist.

Switching off during annual leave is essential for your mental and physical wellbeing. So next time you're on holiday, resist the urge to check those work emails and instead, take a deep breath, relax, and truly enjoy your time off.

Learn more about managing employee time and leave here

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