I just got back from a nice summer break. As I reflect on my time-off during the past year, I feel my recent vacations have been a bit different from all the vacations I’ve had in the past 10 years. Not because I went to a more exotic location or spent time with people who matter more, but because I was feeling mentally more relaxed and not guilty about shirking responsibilities at work.
So many of us are perennially expected to be on top of things–by others and more so by ourselves. With time, this mindset becomes a part of our DNA, translating into a fear of missing out or not being present for our teams.
Years of empirical research suggests that professionals returning from vacations are found to be more focused and productive. So, how can organizations enable their employees to momentarily turn off their ‘always on’ work culture, relax, and tune out from work when they are not working?
Here are some simple, yet powerful, approaches which helped me zone out in the past year, and more importantly, helped my team while I was away.
1. Craft a thoughtful out-of-office (OOO): An effective OOO should provide a detailed list of contacts for specific projects and any other details relating to their availability. This ensures that requests go to the appropriate people who are best equipped to respond, easing the burden on the team holding down the fort while you are away.
2. Trust your team: Equip your team with the knowledge they need to handle requests and prepare them for what will be coming their way, so they can effectively manage their workload. Let them know that you trust them to make decisions in your absence, so they feel empowered to own these extra responsibilities in the short term.
3. Share knowledge: Don’t forget to hand off important files relevant to potential requests that may come up. Using share documents or collaboration tools can help your team members track any changes while you are out so you can easily get up to speed when you return.
They may seem like simple strategies, but they can make all the difference in helping you move from a fear of missing out (FOMO) to a joy of missing out (JOMO)! Because, while you’re taking a much-deserved break, you know your colleagues have your back.