Has the recession claimed another victim – the vacation (or as Humanergy’s Aussie/Brit contingent says, “holiday”)? The American Management Association’s newsletter recently featured an article by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., titled, “Recession Vacation: Have Fun but Stay Connected.”
The basic message of the article is to take that vacation, but stay connected via cell phone, pda, computer, fax or whatever it takes to show that you’re still committed and in the game.
This is probably good advice, but there’s a caution there too. There is a risk that we’ll default to “job protection mode” and never take a break. Do we really want people who haven’t taken time to recharge in years making critical decisions for our organizations?
Maybe the recession does mean we need to rethink the way we get away from it all. We’re not talking about a month, or even a week of disconnection. (And no subterfuge, such as allegedly “hiking the Appalachian trail!”)
How can you refuel and recharge, while making sure that you keep the work fires burning?
- Plan. What types of situations do you need to be involved with, and what can be handled by others? Are you to be contacted only if A, B and C happen? Make it explicit.
- Make sure people know how best to contact you. There are very few places in the world where you cannot be reached. Make sure that you are accessible in case of emergencies (or other scenarios covered in the plan).
- Do the right stuff. Do you need to relax on the beach, or would a more active vacation give you an energy boost? Do you need to go far away, or does long-distance travel wear you out? Do you want to be alone or spend time with significant others?
- Don’t be accessible 24/7. Honestly, the world won’t come to an end. Your employees may even surprise you with their ingenuity and innovation in your absence.
- Go. Plan a day, a weekend or some amount of time that gives you space.
Still don’t think you need a break? Take it from the Mayo Clinic. The impact of simply “living to work” on your health, productivity and relationships is well-documented.
So take that holiday, keep in touch when you need to, and enjoy some uninterrupted time. Trust your employees to live without you for a while.
If you can’t count on your people to step up to the plate, then you have some work to do before you can take time off. Step one of that work involves introspection. Are your people unable to cope without you, or are you unable to let go?
Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!