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Dialling in on holiday: How important is a work-life balance?
Many senior executives are likely to have made significant sacrifices when managing their work-life balance, particularly when it comes to taking holidays. However, everyone’s priorities are different. It is also worth noting that today, it is much more accepted for professionals to take the time off that they are entitled to. This means not logging in to check work emails or joining calls while on holiday.
Of course, this is not always possible and sometimes urgent projects do come up, but how important it is for senior executives to ensure that they are taking work-free breaks?
Changing attitudes towards annual leave
As highlighted above, the traditional role of C-Suite execs and the always working mentality is shifting. As a result, most professionals feel comfortable taking their entire holiday allowance. There is now perhaps a more European attitude towards taking holidays, particularly in August. It is now almost expected that companies, clients, and key contacts are going to be less accessible during this period due to time out of the office.
There are more reasons to take a well-deserved holiday each year than simply to go abroad or away with the family. As the focus on mental health has grown significantly in the UK over the last few years, it has become clearer that throughout the working year people need to take a break to recharge and refresh their minds. This ensures professionals are able to maintain positive mental wellbeing and reduce stress through a good work-life balance.
At the executive level, many of the daily tasks and responsibilities can and should be delegated to reports. This can be difficult if a role is very hands-on, and a lot of people seek guidance from those that are taking a break. Be sure to work out where the pain points in your organisation are in terms of resource and responsibility. From here, work on resolving these so that your executive team members can step away from work confident that everything will be managed in their absence.
The benefits of logging off on holiday
There are clear tangible benefits to ensuring that you and your team are taking work-free breaks throughout the year.
Wellbeing – For executives, taking time off to recharge batteries is good for wellbeing. Recognising that you and your team have worked hard, and deserve a break is important.
Open dialogue – Although it can be difficult when teams are low on resource, encouraging your teams to take time off when they need it creates a culture of open dialogue. This also highlights that it is okay to discuss when they are feeling stressed.
Energising – Having time off undoubtedly allows the body to get back up to full-strength, and helps professionals to feel more energetic when they return to the office.
Is technology enabling work responsibilities to intrude on holiday time?
The ever-evolving technology that now facilitates dynamic working has created endless possibilities for businesses right across the globe. It also means that professionals are almost constantly contactable. This helps facilitate more flexible working arrangements and supports those who need to better manage their work-life balance. On the other side of this, always being available to discuss work or be asked questions often means that professionals are at an increased risk of work-related stress.
Further to increased stress levels, there are other detrimental knock-on effects to employees being interrupted during their time off:
- They end up logging in in the evening or after their children have gone to sleep. This might mean that they don’t get enough rest and can’t fully embrace their time off of work.
- Employees may be unable to sleep and are likely to be tired when they return to work from their break, and less productive.
Leading by example
Many executive level professionals would expect to be contactable around the clock in case something crucial happens. The key is recognising when something is business-critical or not, and ensuring that people are not contacted on holiday unless it is necessary.
Being contacted while on holiday may make professionals feel as though they need to check-in and keep an eye on mundane things, when it would be best not getting involved. Professionals at every level need to take a break.
For some people, work is life, but not necessarily for all. There have been several very public examples of CEOs suffering from fatigue due to being overworked or work-related stresses. Holidays allow people to relax and recharge, key for longer-term work productivity and performance.
The leaders within every organisation should be setting the standard for other members of the business. Not only in terms of values and workplace culture but also attitudes towards taking time off. Regardless of whether a senior executive or any other professional feel as though they need to take a break, taking holiday time is key to wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. Leading the way and setting the example is equally important.
If you would like to have a confidential discussion about how we can find the right role for you or source the right senior executives for your organisation, get in touch with your local Page Executive office.
Senior Partner, Page Executive