Apart from statutory obligation, companies offer paid holidays for a reason - and that includes the boss!
Evidence clearly indicates that without proper breaks from the workplace we become less productive. Even if people work longer hours, as concentration levels fall, we become less creative and our level of intensity and pace drops off. This is doubly the case for senior executives managing large teams who carry a great responsibility for the success of the organisation.
While you might think your dedication to work will impress the organisation, in the long run a potential slow down in your work rate and quality of output will be more likely to garner attention. In addition – if you don’t lead by example, your senior management team will feel less comfortable or even avoid taking their own breaks, leading to fatigue and burnout at the top table.
A successful break for a Chief or Senior executive should deliver:
A seamless continuation of work on current priorities, challenges and projects in your absence
An opportunity to relax with family and friends
A return to work with a happier family, renewed energy, vigour and fresh ideas
Let’s face it, as a Chief Executive or senior management team member, it is often unlikely that you can switch off entirely. While always mindful of your organisation, be also aware and sensitive to the needs of your holiday group or family – this is their break too and their opportunity to spend quality time with you. Appearing to be always online or on the phone to the office is a definite recipe for domestic strife at this time of year.
So, let’s look at some ways of maximising the best outcome from you holiday – for yourself, your career and your family.
Plan well ahead and communicate your holiday plans to your team
Extract yourself where possible from more hands on projects for the period
Ensure key members of your team have not double booked leave
Have your “deputy” or “deputies” lined up to take up the reigns in your absence
Minimise online availability – where possible advise “I’ll be online between 0900 and 1100” or, I’ll check into voicemail at certain times in the day
Where your holiday coincides with unavoidable “critical” projects why not think about the following: Communicate to your group / family that there is a particularly urgent issue at work which will mean you will have to stay in contact, but that you will try to minimise this contact. Or you could schedule a “check in” call with the office to coincide with your family’s plans. For example, get up 30 minutes before the group and make the call then. This gives you the headspace to focus and minimises their irritation with “Mum” or “Dad” is working again!.
DO think about work…… ok so now I’m contradicting myself?
Not really. When you step away from the daily grind of people, issues and deadlines you can free up space in your mind for issues that normally get no time for thought. This will happen automatically. For example; you have an issue with a senior team member’s performance that you haven’t had time to crack. Your mind will naturally seek out the solution when you’re in relaxed mode away from the office.
“As you grow older, you learn a few things. One of them is to actually take the time you’ve allotted for vacation.” John Battelle, Entrepreneur