taking a break from work

Have a Stress-free Preparation For Taking a Break From Work

***Updated on 22 April, 2021

Getting ready for taking a break from work?

The holiday season is fast approaching, and we all deserve a break from the strange year that has been 2020. No matter how much you love your job, proper rest is essential for your wellbeing and productivity. But for some of us, it can be hard to switch off properly, even while we’re on holidays.

So how can we avoid having to think about work matters when we’re taking a well-earned break? Over the next two weeks, we will share some practical tips to help you prepare in taking a break from work and have a stress-free holiday. This week, we focus on how to get yourself organised before going on leave. Next week, we will discuss how to prepare colleagues and clients for when you’re away.

1. Manage your pre-holiday workload

Make a list of everything that needs to be completed before the holidays and block out time in your calendar to finish these tasks. It’s better to finish fewer higher-value tasks than leave a whole bunch of tasks half-finished. It’ll make life easier when you return, and give you a clearer head while you’re on leave.

Be realistic about what you can achieve and have clear goals. Work out what’s the highest value work and put these in your calendar first. Work out if there are lower-value tasks that you can delay so that you’re not overburdening yourself or your colleagues with non-essential tasks.

If you still have too much that has to get done, delegate or ask for help from your team.

2. Plan for your return to work

taking a break from work

Once you’ve planned out your pre-holiday workload, look ahead on your calendar and plan for what’s coming up after your holiday. Plan out your work tasks for your first week back at work, while priorities are still fresh in your mind.

Looking ahead will also help you anticipate the needs of your clients or colleagues, and warn your team of any potential issues that could arise before your return – Ultimately resulting in knowing how to increase productivity and enhance performance upon your return.

3. Organise help

Organise a colleague (or two) to cover your workload while you’re away. This way, essential tasks can be progressed in your absence, which will help the organisation achieve its goals. However, try not to pass on half-finished tasks, as it’ll take longer for a colleague to get up to speed.

Remember to leave clear handover instructions for whoever is looking after your work. Leave instructions on where and how they can access the right information so that your colleague won’t need to contact you to find out what to do.

4. Set up your out-of-office

An out-of-office message is an obvious must. It sets clear expectations for when you’ll be away and not available to respond to emails. Your out-of-office should also direct queries to the right contact points in your organisation so that they can deal with urgent matters appropriately.

To give yourself a buffer for tying up any loose ends, set your out-of-office to start a day earlier. For example, if your last day in the office is the 22 December, put 21 December in your out-of-office. Similarly, you can do the same for your first day back in the office, so that you can catch up on emails and get yourself organised for the new year.

taking a break from work

5. Sort out your filing

The end of the year is a great time to catch up on your filing and make sure that all your important documents are stored appropriately. That way, you’ll be able to find the right information faster when you come back to work.

Ideally, your entire team should use the same filing structure, so that everyone can find what they need when they need it.

6. Clean your desk

Cleaning your desk helps to clear your head. Clearing out your desk before you go on leave means that you’ll have a tidy workspace when you return, which will be much more welcoming. You’ll feel more organised and relaxed, seeing a clean desk instead of a messy one, and you’ll be able to start being productive straight away.

We’re getting ready to say goodbye to 2020 and bring on 2021! We look forward to working with our clients on learning how to increase productivity in 2021.

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