Why annual leave is still important, even during lockdown
The global pandemic has had a profound effect on businesses worldwide. It has no doubt brought the issue of job security to the front of many working people’s minds, causing them to prioritise work to such an extent that they feel awkward asking for leave. However, it’s wise to take a break from work for a while in order to reboot and avoid burnout.
Lockdown has changed many people’s working lives. Working from home has become prevalent, and employees are on their laptops trying our best to keep in contact with colleagues and making sure they’re up to speed with work. Indeed, the comfort of being in our homes might make us feel like we’re already taking it a bit easy, thereby causing us to concentrate harder on work and not worry about our own leisure.
When pressure is on us to perform to the best of our ability during hard times, it might seem presumptuous to ask for leave. The stakes are higher, so it might appear unprofessional or lazy to ask for a day or two off. That being said, mentally detaching ourselves from our work for a short while can have a positive effect on our overall productivity and mental wellbeing.
This is especially true during such a stressful time. We are already panicked about a threat to our physical health, as well as the health of loved ones. This is why it’s useful to take a break from additional sources of stress, such as work, and focus on our mental health. Annual leave and other periods of rest, such as weekends and public holidays, give us the chance to do just that.
Time spent away from work can actually help us sustain our ability to perform and be productive and creative. It’s also particularly helpful in preventing burnout. Prolonged periods of stress without burnout are impossible unless one is given a chance to recover from that stress. Indeed, recovery from work-induced stress puts us back into a mental space where we are properly prepared to tackle what comes our way. This is why we need periods of downtime to ensure that we’re properly rested before returning to work. Burnout can diminish our resilience and creativity, as well as our team-building and decision-making skills.
There are steps you can take to distance yourself from work mentally while you’re on leave. First log out of your work accounts, and don’t forget about setting up that important Out of Office message. Also stop notifications from apps so that you’re not constantly reminded about work. You might still use your laptop for leisurely pursuits but that doesn’t mean you need to be drawn back into the work mindset. If you don’t need to use it, then put it aside and immerse yourself in a book, a hobby or an outdoor activity. Give yourself time to focus on things that make you happy.
Annual leave is not just a holiday. It’s a means for us to reboot and not worry about work for a while. And in spite of lockdown and the pressure it might put on us to perform at our optimal level, leave is especially important during this time of great uncertainty. So don’t be afraid to ask for leave if you need it, as it will help you in the long run. Also, if you have been working from home, take a look at Nashua’s remote working solutions. Having an efficient remote workforce is all about giving employees the right tools to stay productive and connected. Nashua can help support your remote workforce through customised packages.