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Wednesday, 23 January

Strict Data Diet Required To Banish Holiday Blues

Lots of people have only just returned to work in the week commencing January 7. Many will be planning dry-Januarys and diets - but how many could do with cutting down on their work connectivity permanently?

Whether it’s a two week holiday or a twenty minute respite at lunch, John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices, explains why taking a digital detox and disconnecting from all things work-related has several important benefits, including increased productivity and overall happiness.

The proliferation of digital devices means that we’re constantly connected to the office wherever we might be, making it difficult to switch off from work, even when we should. In fact, according to a study by Glassdoor, the average number of UK employees taking their full annual leave is 62%, while only 43% made use of 91-100% of their holiday entitlement. What’s more, 13% reported only taking 20% of their allowance.

Although it may seem like a good thing from a productivity point of view, having employees constantly working can do your business more harm than good.

 

Not switching off

Research found 23% of those on holiday regularly checked their emails and 15% admitted to doing some work out of fear of being behind on their return and missing targets. 20% of employees surveyed also reported that they were expected to be reachable and available to carry out some work if needed.

The Office of National Statistics has released figures that revealed three million UK employees work more than 48 hours a week, a rise of a quarter of a million since 2001.

Continuing to work over their holiday means that workers don’t get a chance to fully recover from the stresses of office life and in the end, productivity and creativity can suffer when drained employees come back to work.

This is, of course, not even considering the health benefits of a holiday – stress and exhaustion take an incredible toll on the body and overworked employees may end up taking more sick leave throughout the year. Finally, allowing employees time off to relax can result in an all-around boost for office morale.

 

Tips for a digital disconnect

Respect other people’s schedules. Issue an edict that staff on holiday should not be bothered by emails or calls when they have taken time off unless the matter is extremely urgent.

Prioritise workloads. Remind staff that if they absolutely have to work on your holiday, spend time on the important tasks only.

Set up an auto-replies. Remind staff to include a contact number for someone else in the office who can be contacted if the issue is urgent.

Let colleagues know. Anyone going on holiday should be expected to have completed the most compelling projects and let colleagues know that they will be unlikely to reply to work communications while away.

Avoid constantly checking devices while on holiday. Tell staff that if they absolutely have to remain connected to work while on holiday, allocate a specific day or a certain time of day when they will check and reply to emails, text messages and missed calls.

 

Digital detox

Many holiday retreats all over the world are now offering digital detoxes, where there is no Wi-Fi signal and visitors are encouraged to hand over their electronic devices.

 

Daily work breaks

It’s not just time off work that’s important – taking a proper lunch break every day is also beneficial.  And by 'proper' lunch break, I mean moving away from the desk or office cubicle. According to Forbes, incorporating an hour or half hour break into your daily work schedule can boost one’s energy levels, improve your mood and provide additional morning motivation as you work towards your break.

Picture: Employees should be encouraged to cut cutting down on their work connectivity while on holiday.

 

Article written by John Williams

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