Taking a break this summer? - Business Works
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Taking a break this summer?

Adi Gaskell, CMI A s a child, the summer holidays were a magical time when you had six weeks or so to revel in the sunshine. OK, maybe Iím looking through rose-tinted glasses a little there as, no doubt, rain played a part in my summer days, but alas they represented a chance to recharge batteries and arrive back at school refreshed and invigorated.

Fast forward to working life, however, and holidays are a luxury we appear increasingly reluctant to enjoy. Chief Executives and bosses of companies are giving up their right to take holidays, according to independent research from IFF Research, which found one in eight company owners and employers do not take any holiday at all.

The majority of senior managers takes less than two weeks holiday per year. SME owners are worst of all, with many forgoing their holiday completely. Interestingly however, despite this sparse holiday leave, many managers are actually happy with their lot.

Putting in the hours is far from uncommon in the workplace, and a strong work ethic is seen as important should one wish to get ahead, but in terms of your mental and physical health this stoic behaviour could be brewing up problems.

After all, itís not like managers switch off even if they do manage to get away. Research back in 2009 revealed that a good proportion of managers check in whilst away on holiday. Nearly 40% of those surveyed would check their emails whilst on holiday, with the main reason being to keep on top of their workload.

So how can you tell if you need a holiday? Here are a few telltale signs:

  1. Youíre the last to leave the office each evening
  2. You require larger caffeine / sugar fixes each day to keep you going
  3. You canít remember when your last holiday was
  4. Youíre losing enthusiasm for work
  5. You donít have time for exercise any longer
  6. Your sleep begins to suffer
  7. You think about work, you talk about work, your life literally becomes your work
  8. Your stress levels rise

As a manager, what should you do?

Alison Blackhurst believes that if you're not letting your staff recharge their batteries that you are failing as a manager. She suggests that rules need to be inserted into contracts to ensure people take proper rest, including:

  • staff taking a proportion of their leave in each quarter;
  • reserving some leave for annual closures at a time when you are not busy;
  • authorising holidays before staff make any holiday bookings;
  • all employees complete a holiday request form.

Rest and recovery is crucial for both your mental and physical well-being. So treat yourself this summer and donít shirk on your holiday.

Adi Gaskell is from the Chartered Manaagement Institute (CMI): www.managers.org.uk

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