Are we there yet? Summer holiday time (maybe)

They are coming home… the children that is! After the joyous relief of schools reopening for our children’s education (and their parents’ sanity), the sanctity of the home office is about to be sullied once more with the cries of “bored”, “why can’t I stream Netflix if you have a conference call?” and the classic “he/she/they started it”.

To add to this already heady, joyous mix, the normal relief of getting away from it all seems (for another year) to elude many. Flights are available but countries are either locking us out or our government is insistent / undecided / definitely sure / will take advice… about how we can come home. There is the £17000 option for a week in Cornwall –  anybody? No? Not to mention the differing rules between the home nations of the UK.

Thankfully for those with children, this summer, holiday clubs can open (assuming the clubs survived financially / the delta variant “pingdemic” settles down) and most child care operators can function at ‘pre-covid’ levels but that doesn’t change the fact that the almost institutional ‘break’ that most people / couples / families need (yes NEED) for their well-being is again denied. This author has often written about mental health and its importance in maintaining a person’s general wellbeing – despite the upcoming (should have happened by now) easing of restrictions, many will still feel ‘trapped’ possibly with the added pressure of the children to ‘entertain’.

Of course there is still the mighty STAYCATION that many will partake in over the coming months, popping over to a National Trust / English Heritage / RHS site, perhaps enjoying a cream tea (jam then cream!) before heading home. Perhaps some will even brave the British beaches and the ‘crystal clear’ waters around our fair island.

With the staycation though, there is that sense of not quite being away from it all and the temptation (rightly or wrongly) to dip back into work when that notification pops up or have a work colleague get in touch because they know you are ‘not actually away’. We all live integrated work lives, many of us using personal mobile devices to review work content / email / messages or take calls. It is imperative for our mental health that a break is a break and colleagues / employers need to respect that boundary regardless of whether hanging out in Kos with a bunch of mates or becoming a sofa hermit with only the ‘Game of Thrones’ box set for company.

So remember these basic steps and enjoy your time ‘away’:

  • Make sure your holiday is proudly displayed in your work calendar but is also visible centrally so other employees can easily identify you are out.
  • Make sure colleagues know where to find the clear instructions for regular tasks.
  • Redirect any workflow approvals to an alternative employee for the duration (don’t get that panic call from your FD at 08:30 on the Wednesday).
  • Set your email ‘Out of Office’ to start half a day before you leave the office and do not disable it immediately on your return – give it another day (it will save your sanity) especially with a busy mailbox.
  • Log out of any work email / messaging services on your personal mobile – Email, Teams, Slack, DocuWare Mobile…
  • Put any work devices (laptop / tablet / phone) away in a cupboard – out of sight, out of mind.
pink flamingo

Most importantly, relax, take time for yourself / family, send the office a postcard (from your sofa even) and (if you are going back to the office) take your colleagues a post holiday treat (biscuits / that random local flavoured preserve / the cake the locals swear only they can produce).

Happy holidays everyone, whatever you get up to.

Toby Gilbertson Customer Services Manager

Toby Gilbertson, Customer Services Manager. July 2021.

#PacSolUK #MentalHealth #Holiday #OutOfOffice

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