How to tackle out-of-office anxiety during the holiday season


We can all agree that taking a break from work is important for our mental health. But it seems that many people struggle to genuinely switch off and take some time out from the hustle and bustle of their professional lives.

There are various reasons behind this inability to fully check out from our professional duties for a week or two. Often we might feel a little guilty for leaving others to pick up our slack, especially in high energy workplaces where everybody’s contribution is crucial.

Other folks may struggle to relax properly during a break as they fear that they won’t adequately be covered while away and thus will return to a ridiculous workload. Some people may even worry that being adequately covered while on holiday may make them seem replaceable.

So how do we make sure that we actually benefit from our holidays? Well, there are a few things we can do as individuals which we will cover below, but there are a couple of things employers can do to set the right tone. Let’s dive in.


How Employers Can Help Staff Enjoy holidays

Some work environments can be intense and make employees feel like taking time off is detrimental to  the collective effort. Employers can guard against this negative attitude developing by demonstrating their own commitment and enjoyment of holidays and time away.

Also help employees plan their work through their holiday time, establishing what can be put on hold and what tasks will be channelled elsewhere. Let them know that you are fully supportive of their holiday time.

Also, no contacting employees during their holidays! Get all the information you need before they go and figure out an alternative solution if something crops up.


How Employees Can Avoid Stressful Holidays

Make sure to communicate to everyone that should know that you will be going away, and give them plenty of notice. Then prepare yourself for lots of ‘Just before you…’ requests.

Prioritise everything you need to do before you go, and get the most important stuff done first. Make a plan for everything else, and make absolutely sure you, your immediate superior, and everyone else knows who is responsible for any task or duties you usually do.

Enjoy putting a customised Out of Office reply on your work phone or email if necessary, and make sure to direct callers to where they may get a resolution to their likely query. This will help reduce the workload waiting for you when you return.

Once the practical stuff is out of the way, prepare your mind to switch off from work and enjoy the present moment during your break. You must fully immerse yourself in your time away from the office to gain the most mental health benefits.

Put life, the universe, and everything in perspective and remember that the world keeps on turning regardless of whether you are at your desk or sipping Pina Coladas on the beach.

If you’re hiring or searching for a new role in 2023, get in touch with our specialist recruitment team here at Exchange Street to help you find the perfect cultural fit.

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