As we all know, summertime is also the typical vacation time. One mail after the other comes in: "Dear colleagues, I am on vacation from x to y".
Time off. Relaxation. Out of the office, into the pool or up the mountains.
Everyone needs to disconnect from time to time, calm down, just relax and recharge their batteries. During our last Aperitivo LONGO, Georg said "on my last vacation, I intentionally left my phone in the room. After all, I'm on leave. I told my colleagues to send me a WhatsApp message in case of emergencies. Then when I came back to the room, I had 32 missed calls and 20 unread messages."
Exception or norm? That is the question. Everyone in our company is an essential part of it, everyone has their role and corresponding responsibilities, everyone is important. I think that's something really beautiful: feeling important. It means you're needed, you have a purpose in the company, and that's what people want, isn't it? But sometimes this "being needed" can also generate pressure. It leads to regular messages from colleagues who are on so-called "well-deserved vacation".
Googling " take a break while on vacation" brings up 4,490,000 results. 4.5 million results. The first results are "Too much stress? 9 tips to simply relax on vacation"; " Properly disconnect on vacation: 20 tips for more relaxation" and thus it goes on. Apparently, we (LONGO) are not the only people who have difficulties to just relax, but it seems to be a well-established phenomenon that people have difficulties to just leave everything aside. We (all of us) seem to need tips on how to best unwind, when it should be quite simple.
Out of the office, into the pool or up the mountains.
Just " chilling out ". Just relaxing can't be the challenge, can it? But this is where the possibility of home office suddenly becomes a problem. While colleagues made fun of our "vacation - work time" during our week out-of-office in the Marche, when we're on vacation, we find the opposite problem: you can work from anywhere. In other words, all of us are always available everywhere. That doesn't necessarily make it easier to unplug. According to a study by SAP Concur, nearly 60 percent of Germans work while on vacation (as of 2018). Replying quickly to an email or doing a fast telco on the beach, no problem at all - from a purely technical point of view.
Leaving work "at home," or better yet, at the office, so that you can properly relax, is apparently now practically impossible. In the back of the mind we think, "what's left undone?"; "how many unread mails will be in my inbox when I return?"; "is something going wrong right now?". It is tempting to check one's Outlook inbox every now and then on the mobile phone in order not to miss anything or to avoid a flood of unread messages in advance. It seems less tedious to us to deal with problems directly while on vacation than to simply switch off and be "offline" for a while. However, this leads to the fact that we don't really disconnect, that we are aware of difficulties (from which we are supposed to be recovering at that very moment) and confront ourselves with them. This generates stress, stress on vacation. That doesn't sound like relaxation. According to Michael Sadre Chirazi-Stark, head physician of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Asklepios Westklinikum Hamburg, vacations are there to satisfy needs that are left behind in everyday life. For example, "just slowing down".
So Georg did it (almost) right, he just left his cell phone in the hotel room. But the missed calls and messages still cause stress as soon as we see them.
Our customers are important to us and we love what we do. As mentioned before, everyone at LONGO is needed and appreciated and that's how we, LONGO employees value our company, our customers, our projects. Passion is wonderful, but it also makes it harder for us to disconnect for a while.
So even when we are on vacation, we respond to calls and e-mails, and our heads are still partly with our dear colleagues. Work travels with us, it accompanies many of us. However, it's not like a friend with whom we like to sit down and have a beer, but more like a mother-in-law. At best, you get along with her, but on vacation you'd rather not have her with you.
Everyone looks forward to a vacation and everyone has a right to take a vacation. The important thing is to make the most of it. The key is to come down and relax. Experts disagree on whether a long-term vacation or an extended weekend is better. Work psychologist Carmen Binnewies says that whether it's short or long, it's all about how you experience the time without work. That makes sense. If I manage to relax properly after work, whether that's while cooking, on the bike or on vacation at the beach, then that's good for me. Taking a break should be the main priority. Among the many tips and tricks on how to best relax on vacation, it is recommended to set an absence note, ideally two days longer to work off what has accumulated before the normal workload starts again. In addition, a meeting should not be scheduled directly on the first day of work. Could this be the solution?
Fact is, vacation keeps us fit and healthy. No kidding. Because "vacation has positive effects on the health of employees". The risk of a heart attack increases if you don't take a leave, you can get sick faster. Therefore, we should really use the time to rest, sit back and try to turn off our head.
Even though we are all needed and important, it is just as important to be fully functional when we are at work. In order to do so, we need to rest from time to time and trust our colleagues to take things off our hands and represent us, at least for a short time.
A warm climate, lots of light and a day that is not too busy are supposed to be particularly good. So head to your supervisor, get out of the office, turn off your cell phone, get into the pool or up the mountains.