I remember many years ago, a new senior manager starting at my then workplace. This manager said some things so radical that my long-indentured City colleagues were sent into a tizzy: 1) take your holiday 2) leave your remote devices in the office when you do. Now, this advice might seem fairly obvious; yet mounting evidence has shown that the technology enabling us to work more flexibly can be a double-edged sword when balancing our work/life obligations:
There is no doubt in my mind that flexible and remote working solutions have their place. From my personal experiences, it can give you back a sense of empowerment in being trusted to prioritise my deadlines when working remotely or on flexible hours. As well as less stress when trying to manage those previously wasted hours when the boiler unexpectedly broke and I had to be at home or those train delays whilst commuting.
Yet, I have been guilty of checking my emails whilst on leave and I know of many others that have done/do this too. I even remember one trader that sent me an indicative price, only moments after I had received his out of office stating that he was away for 2 weeks (further enquiries led me to understand that it was only day 4 of his vacation in the Caribbean…). Now whilst I was partly impressed by the dedication, not to mention the ability to find signal and afford the data charges – should I have been?
Epiphany came one weekend after an exceptionally busy year-end, when driving to see my family, and this little blue sign kept appearing: Tiredness can kill, take a break. The truth is, we all need time to rest, relax, recuperate – we’re not always ok and that’s ok too. As colleagues or managers, we need to recognise how we can support and also be supported. So, this mental health week I ask all of you to consider taking your holiday and remembering to switch off those work devices and remind your colleagues to do the same.
For more information, this is a great article to be starting with https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/voices/comment/the-potential-stressors-remote-working
Blog by Lexie, raising awareness during Mental Health Week, May 2019