Just disconnect...

Posted on 6 Oct 2023
Just disconnect...

t's easy to say, isn't it? Far harder to actually achieve. Disconnecting from your business or your job is incredibly hard.  As a business owner myself, I know that only too well. 

I read an article this week in The Global Recruitment that made me stop and think.  There is a particular comment in there about leading by example. How managers (and of course business owners themselves) should set the scene as to what's acceptable while on vacation. I know the pressure I feel when I'm away on holiday to check in and keep in touch, and this article really made me think about that carefully.

I've summarised the article here for you and if you would benefit from reading the full thing, I've included the link further down...

According to a study reported on in The Global Recruiter annual leave, isn't being utilised fully by British employees.

Studies indicate that 62% of UK workers didn't exhaust their annual leave entitlement in 2022. This is concerning, especially considering that 87% of workers globally experienced burnout in the past year. There's a clear link between not taking leave and burnout, yet it seems that not enough is being done about it.
Time away from work enhances productivity, boosts morale, and reduces sick days. So, ensuring employees feel free to take holidays is crucial for business operations amidst labour and skills challenges. Businesses have a responsibility to provide a conducive work environment and communicate expectations clearly: taking a holiday is beneficial, and urgent matters will be communicated directly.
Managers should adopt a gentle approach to creating a culture that encourages annual leave by:
1. Reminding employees that taking time off improves productivity and prevents burnout.
2. Clarifying how urgent situations will be communicated, relieving the need for constant email or messaging checks.
3. Leading by example - managers should take time off and disconnect, setting the tone for the team.
4. Monitoring leave and gently encouraging those not taking enough time off.
This approach prioritises staff welfare, encouraging them to take time off and fully disconnect during holidays. Stats show that only 51% of UK workers completely detach from work during their holidays. A successful annual leave policy should be built on trust, transparency, and boundaries to prevent work from intruding on personal time.
Managers need to set clear expectations and trust their teams to accomplish goals without being 'always on'. Leaders should establish guidelines for handovers before holidays, encouraging a culture of disconnecting. Employees should feel comfortable taking annual leave without constant email or message checks, facilitated by an effective handover process.
Balancing the burnout challenge involves empowering remote workers to take holidays, and acknowledging the need for flexible annual leave policies. Create a culture that encourages rest and recharge without the expectation of being available 24/7. While mandating annual leave isn't possible, creating an environment where employees feel at ease doing so is a must.
Businesses today should tailor annual leave policies to suit their nature and values, ultimately enhancing morale and building a positive work culture. 

This is a summary of an article published in The Global Recruiter, to read the article in full, click here and scroll to page 15.

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