Take That Two Week Vacation

This is a guest blog written by Dr Sue Guthrie,  Head of Scientific Services at Ogilvy 4D – The health behavior change specialists

The morning rush hour has miraculously disappeared and Wimbledon is but a memory – so it must be the summer holidays.

This is the time to head off with your family for two relaxing weeks, away from your desk, your clients and your email. Sounds perfect, huh?

So why is it that a third of British workers do not take their annual holiday allowance? Are we really too busy? That seems at odds with the fact that UK workers are the least productive of the G7 countries. Do we think we are indispensable? No-one is indispensable – even Apple has survived without Steve Jobs. Is it because managing work around your holiday is hard? Possibly, but that shouldn’t stop you.

Research from the US shows that taking time off is good for the individual, good for productivity and even good for the economy as you spend that holiday cash.

Henry Ford had the right idea back in the 1920s, he recognised that productivity could actually be increased by moving from a 48-hour, six-day work week to a five day, 40-hour week.

Correctly managed, holiday also allows your staff to take on some new tasks and enrich their own role. They have a chance to find new things they enjoy and are good at. They may even develop a better appreciation for what you do!

So turn off the computer and get out into the sunshine. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the guilty pleasure of some down time.

Tips to take that break

1- Plan some time off each quarter – don’t let your holiday accumulate only to discover you’ve run out of time to fit it all in.

2 – Book your time off well in advance and share your dates so that your teams can put plans in place to ensure work continues whilst you’re away.

3 – Provide a handover with sufficient time for people to check how they are going to cover your work and ask you questions before you head off.

4 – Set that out of office notice and provide the contact details of a colleague, or arrange for someone to check your emails so urgent things are actioned in your absence.

5 – On return, work through the most recent emails first, some earlier issues will already have been dealt with, and schedule a quick catch up meeting.

Go on, have a great holiday, it’s good for everyone.

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