I must admit that my partner and I have always done a little work while off on holiday. At times that was during the heat of the day. I would retreat to the cool of the hotel room to finish off some writing for my research project.
At other times we’ve both spent an hour each morning writing, emailing and generally catching up. Then we’ve gone out to enjoy our holiday. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it works well for us.
And that’s my point. If the current advice – switch everything off, do nothing for work, and then return to the office fully refreshed, recharged and raring to go – doesn’t work for you, then it’s simply going to cause you greater stress than if you’d previously agreed to check emails once a day, or spend some time writing up a report.
The important thing is to take a break away from the office, and to exercise control and moderation over your various commitments. If you do plan to do this, then share your plans with the boss. No point deciding to do a little work only to be bombarded by the boss and everyone else back at the office – that will undo all the good that a holiday can do, and see you returning to work more washed out and stressed than when you finished work.
I have a friend who calls their behaviour ‘work life blend’. He is very happy working through his holidays but he also uses his work time to make private phone calls or appointments. It seems a little heavy to me, but if it helps to keep him sane then that’s okay.
Just as with all work life balance ideas, it’s a matter of personal taste and preferences. There is no absolute right and wrong for this, but it’s helpful to discuss your plans with the rest of the family before you head off, so they all know what to expect. They may be the ones who gently remind you that one hour of working is okay, but giving up most of the day every day is most definitely not.
One last thought: Even if you aren’t doing actual work, be mindful of how you use your phone or tablet while you are on holiday. It is so easy to get sucked into all the same social media, news and apps that occupy you at home, when you could be spending time, building memories and enjoying the company of your partner, family or friends.
At Work Horizons we help people who are dissatisfied with their career or their current job. If this sounds like you – or someone you’ll be enjoying your holiday with – read more here.