Living in the digital world often makes escaping work seem like an impossibility, but allowing yourself to switch off completely is vital to our mental well-being and relationships.
It might seem like hard work, and it’s easy to question if it’s worth it, but the benefits of a work detox are felt all round. Better sleep, focus on loved ones and reduces stress as well as increasing productivity and creativity on your return.
Here are my top tips for preparing for a getaway. This could be for a long weekend or a two-week family holiday; follow these and have the confidence to leave work behind.
  • Plan in advance – create lists of what needs to be done before and during your leave, delegating tasks to others. Allow time for a full handover and for colleagues to ask questions.
  • Set clear expectations and boundaries – make sure those covering your tasks know what you need them to do – what do you expect from them? What kind of decisions are they authorised to make on your behalf?
  • Let people know – Inform clients and colleagues in advance of the dates you are unavailable, allowing them to plan their workload and ask any questions / get anything from you before you go.
  • Plan for emergencies – if something unexpected comes up, what is your contingency plan? Make sure colleagues are aware of this and know for what and how they can contact you.
  • Tidy your workspace – have a clear-out so when you return feeling refreshed, you’re not faced with piles of paperwork to sort through.
  • Clear your inbox – the same as above, clear your inbox before you go so that when you return, your inbox doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming.
  • Plan your first few days back in the office – do this before you leave so that you know what you are returning to, leave some time for dealing with anything unexpected that may crop up whilst you are away and limit the number of meetings so that you have time to regroup.
  • Set an out-of-office and voicemail – leave clear instructions on who to contact for what. Check with your nominated contacts first and make sure they aren’t away at the same time. There is nothing worse than pinging around from OOO to OOO! Agree that your OOO contact will copy you into any emails they handle so you know what has been dealt with on your return.
  • Snooze notifications on your phone – or delete any work retaliated apps from your phone – that way, you can’t be tempted to look and be drawn into anything work-related.
  • Finally, make notes – of any work-related thoughts you have whilst away. This way, you can clear it out of your mind safely, knowing that you have noted it as an action for your return.
This may all seem like a lot of work in the lead-up to a holiday, but I promise you time switching off from work will make it more than worth it.  What are your tips for getting out of the office? Do you have any to add to this list? Next time, I’ll share my thoughts on beating the post-holiday overwhelm…

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