Out of office???

As managers and leaders, many of our employees look to us to either signal or give explicit permission to take time away from work. Therefore, it is essential to foster a culture where stepping away undisturbed to recharge is okay and encouraged.

Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 Report states that employee stress is at its highest rate ever. Almost everyone I have spoken to feels they have had more to do in a shorter period, as many activities that had previously been halted at work during COVID started up again over the late spring and early summer months. In addition, heavier workloads, higher employee turnover rates, and increased commute times due to being back in the office are contributing to more significant stress points.

Time away from work has never looked so good! Have you planned your vacation time for the summer? If not, what might you be modeling for your team? Do you think you are too busy and will be more stressed if you go on vacation? If you were not planning to take a vacation, there are science-based reasons why you should. A vacation does not require you to go far; it can be a staycation.

How to leave the office before vacation.

Maximize your return on investment before your vacation and do some planning in advance to take some of the stress away. Research shows that taking time away for vacation positively impacts your health and better positions you to be happier and more successful at work. Here are some tips to get you in a relaxed frame of mind before you leave the office.

  1. Set your intentions for your time away. What are some of the things you would like to do while you are away? Being intentional about your time off can result in greater contentment and well-being. Setting your intentions does not have to be a grand gesture, it can be as simple as starting a new hobby. Create enough structure to provide yourself with flexibility and the opportunity to be spontaneous.
  2. Determine what work will need to stop, start, and continue. While you are away, it can’t be business as usual. If it is, you are not taking a vacation. Many things can pause without issue. There may be things that need to start or that need to continue. Take time to determine what you can delegate to someone else. Use this as an opportunity to create a stretch assignment for a team member.
  3. Review your calendar. Cancel all the meetings that are scheduled to take place during your vacation, and don’t reschedule them. We often reschedule meetings and create a bottleneck of meetings upon our return. On your first day back in the office, try to block the first half of the day to go through your email box. Managing your time upon return requires prioritization, focus, and systems.
  4. Declutter your office space. Take the stress out of your return to work and clean up your office (work and/or home) before you take your vacation or staycation. Having a messy office is mentally draining and causes stress. When you return, you don’t want the distraction and chaos of trying to find things or feeling overwhelmed in your workspace.
  5. Communicate with your team. Decide who’s on first when you are gone. Make sure your team members know when you are planning to leave the office for vacation and are prepared for your departure. Let them know who will be available to answer questions and manage important matters while you are away.
  6. Out-of-office message. Craft your out-of-office email. Yes, you need an out-of-office message. There is no shame in taking time off to recharge and telling the world you are away.

Enjoy your vacation this summer!

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2 Responses

  1. Boi, I wanted to read this, but I was on vacation ????????

    Seriously, another good read. You inspire me!

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