Step away from the laptop
With more of us opting for the staycation this summer, rather than planning holidays to far-flung places, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to properly disengage from work at home. To help you truly unwind and unplug during your time off, Obelisk Support’s Brooke Wilson has pulled together some of our top tips for unplugging when you’re on staycation.
“You need to take a break before you break.”
Why is it so important to disengage from work?
“You need to take a break before you break.” – Anna Whitehouse, founder of Flex Appeal, a campaign pushing for flexible working for all.
We know from our own experiences that being able to mentally detach from work during our time off has countless benefits, to our physical and mental health, as well as to our performance and productivity when we return to work. When we don’t take the much needed time away, we pay a price – decision-making, teamwork, creativity, innovation, resilience, are the first to disappear when we are burned out and depleted. So it’s important to get it right.
For many, disconnecting from work has never been straightforward. However, now that our homes have been doubling – sometimes tripling – as offices, nurseries, schools and gyms, for so long, and the physical barriers between work and home have been eroded, disconnecting has never been harder to do. With research finding lawyers were the second most stressed professionals in the UK even before the pandemic, learning how to take a break is more important than ever.
With that in mind, here are a few tricks to help you unplug from work and make the most of your staycation:
#1. Do as much as you can ahead of time
Start the work wind down a few days, or even weeks, before you’re due to log off. It becomes so much harder to truly unplug from work when you have emails you’ve been meaning to reply to or loose strings from long-running projects that you need to attend to. A key tip is to aim to wrap up everything you need to the day before your last day at work. If not, you’ll likely find yourself preoccupied with the few things that you needed to finish off, and before you know it you’ve logged back on and holiday becomes another week of working from home.
#2. Prepare your colleagues ahead of your staycation
When you work as part of a team it can be hard to take a step back, knowing that you may be needed or that someone else will be managing your workload. This is why preparing your colleagues and key clients beforehand is so important for your time away. Let everybody know that you plan to fully unplug from work and be sure to establish a clear definition of “emergency” so that you don’t get pulled back in unnecessarily. We all know how easy it can be for a colleague taking time off at home to get pulled back online to answer a quick question or fix a small problem. So be clear and specific about what you expect from your staycation.
#3. Eliminate distraction
On a normal holiday away you might leave your laptop at home or try to ditch the technology for a few days. While this might seem easier to do when you’re in a brand new environment, with so much to discover, it’s not impossible when you’re at home.
To start with, tidy up your work space, close your laptop and, if you think it will help, pack it away in a drawer. Next your phone. Your phone can be a major source of stress and it becomes a habit to check your emails and messages every so often. If you know that there’s a chance you’ll start fielding calls or responding to emails whilst you’re out of the office then put it on silent. Turn off any work notifications, take advantage of the “Do Not Disturb” setting and just focus on being present with your family, friends, and your pets.
#4. Plan your activities
Do the things you’d normally do on holiday, at home. A staycation is about more than just taking time off work. In order to really disconnect from work and make the most of your experience, you need to plan your staycation like you would a normal holiday away. Make a list of things you want to do and plan activities for yourself and your family. Do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do but have never seemed to have time for. Whether that be visiting a local museum, a beach day or turning your living room into a fort, make sure that you put it in your schedule.
#5. Get yourself on board
The biggest obstacle we have when it comes to unplugging from work is not the lack of physical distance between our workplace and our home, nor is it the abundance of technology we have in our lives. While these factors are definite contributors, our biggest obstacle is our own level of commitment or, at times, compulsion when it comes to work. And so our last tip is: get yourself on board. Go all in on your staycation, trust that everything will be fine and most importantly, have fun !