Taking time away for the office has never been harder. When the office is your home, it requires even more discipline on a personal level and understanding from colleagues.
This month: Will this feel like a normal holiday season?
The short answer is probably ‘no’! We can blame the pandemic for that! However, that should in no way stop holidays from happening. So many lawyers that I speak to have had a long 18 months, whether you are in conveyancing and the SDLT holiday has been hanging over you or litigation where work seems to have rocketed, family, commercial… I could go on. But that just shows why it is so important to take time out, even when perhaps we can’t do our usual holiday activities. It is tempting when working from home to keep ‘half an eye’ on emails or to ‘check in’ again in the evening, but we all need time off; 100% away from work.
ACAS reports that around half of people in the UK don’t take their full annual leave entitlement. Mind UK encourages you to ‘try and take the holiday you are entitled to’ to protect your mental health. A break will allow you to focus on things outside of work and create some balance and perspective. It allows you to switch off from the constant barrage of emails and communications.
• Be strict in your out of office auto response, if you state ‘I will not be checking emails in my absence’ then don’t!
• Respect your colleagues holidays, don’t expect them to respond to you when they are away
• Inform key client and contacts of your time away and make provisions for cover of the absolutely critical matters, everything else can wait until your return.
• Block time out of your diary on your return to catch up on communications so you don’t feel too overwhelmed on your first day back.
• If your holiday is not actually involving you leaving your house then pack your IT equipment away, somewhere that is not easily accessible and where you can’t see it for the duration of your holiday.
Everything will be waiting for you on your return, and you will absolutely feel the benefit for the rest of the year! If you and your colleagues all support each other, taking a holiday can still give you the break and respite that you need to come back refreshed despite your destination perhaps being closer to home than usual.
All the best and enjoy your summer holiday (however it happens).