As we enter the holiday season will you, like millions of others business leaders and managers, tell your people that they can contact you if they need to and that you will periodically check your emails?

And whilst on holiday do you tell your family that you just need 10 minutes to check your emails or call in to check everything is alright?

If this describes you then you are seriously doing yourself no favours.

You may think it’s OK to allocate 10 minutes a day, but you are in fact allocating far more than those 10 minutes. Even if, best case, you open and scan your emails and find all is well, your head is now in work mode.

And these “10 minutes” don’t just affect you, they affect your family or partner too. It’s not the fact that it only took 10 minutes, it’s the fact that your head is now somewhere else and this somewhere else can come across as being more important than being with them.

And let’s hope there isn’t a problem that you feel needs your attention. If there is then 10 minutes will stretch to 30 minutes, an hour, and you will feel the stress that’s been flowing out of you flood straight back in and your family may feel alienated and second best.

It’s so important for your family that you are there with them in mind as well as body and that you’re properly enjoying this time that you’re all together.

But it’s also vital for you too. You need to switch off. You need to relax. You need your brain to be thinking about other things that have nothing to do with work and more to do with planning the fun you’re going to have that day with your family.

It’s also vital for your business. If you come back feeling that you didn’t really leave your care home or home care business because you were being called for advice and to resolve problems then your business isn’t going to benefit from a rejuvenated you.

Holidays can also be perfect to spend a bit of time thinking bigger picture stuff that could lead on to some eureka moments that could take the business forward.

This is your holiday, your time to relax. This is also your family’s or partner’s holiday and they want you with them. I have known so many people reflect years later on how much quality family time they missed because they struggled to get their head out of work mode.

Having a relaxing holiday where you truly switch off and recharge won’t happen by accident. You need to prepare for it.

Here are some tips to help you achieve that:

1.  Prepare yourself and others for your absence

Your aim is to relax and not worry about what needs to be done. So, what do you need to get done before you go on holiday until say a week after your return?

Contact anyone connected with your business who may need to know that you’re not available. Is there anything they need that you can sort out now before your holiday? Can it wait until a week after you are back? Can you provide another contact for them?

Plan any important meetings and visits and set aside enough time to complete any actions and to meet any deadlines. Tie-off loose ends.

People don’t always appreciate your need for time off. Some people think that they should be able to contact you if they need you, regardless. Help them understand that you need to switch off and relax and that your family need quality time with you – you’re not being selfish.

Create a new voicemail message saying you’re on holiday having important quality time with your family and ask that you’re only contacted if it’s urgent. (Or give the number of another who can take the call in your absence if possible.)

Make it clear to everyone that once you’re out of the door then that’s it…no contact unless it’s urgent.

2.  Delegate

Assign specific tasks and responsibilities and if possible one of your managers to be you in your absence.

Make sure everyone knows that this is the person to speak to whilst you’re away. Everything goes through that person.

Give permission for this person only to call you if it’s an emergency or something that only you can make the final decision on. Define what qualifies as an emergency.

Make sure they know of anything likely to come in that will need their attention and guide them if necessary on the right course of action. That can wait until I’m back qualifies as an appropriate action.

Give this person clear instructions, rules and guidelines as to what they can and can’t make decisions on without needing to check with you first. Knowing experience and skill set will you set boundaries so that you aren’t setting them up to fail or to make a decision that is harmful to the organisation.

If someone who knows you’re away does call you, ask him or her first if it is urgent or if it can possibly wait. As far as possible, don’t react to your phone ringing but let it go to voicemail. Your holiday time is important and needs to be protected.

3.  Do not take your work with you

Leave your laptop at home. If you have a separate work mobile keep it switched off. If your personal phone is also your work phone and then switch off all your work emails and only switch on at set times or if you get a call from your assigned manager.

Do not take any reports or other work-related material with you that is geared to you having to take action. Basically, any material that could spark reactive feelings and actions will increase stress, so avoid them.

4.  Plan any work you intend to do

If you do intend to do some work then control what you intend to do, how much time you will allocate to it and when you will do it. Set yourself boundaries.

You may decide that you will check your email first thing in the morning and that you will check your voicemail first thing in the morning on every 3rd day. A different time might make more sense so that you can speak to others who are in a different time zone if necessary.

Control how much time you allocate to this and if necessary, set the timer on your phone to count down the 20 or 30 minutes you’ve allocated. And then stop when reached. Only if there’s a real emergency and you need to do more should you.

Having done what you planned to do, switch off from work mode and switch back into holiday mode. If you don’t make a deliberate effort to do this then, even though you’ve ‘walked away’ from your work, your mind may not have.

It’s so easy to mull over an email you’ve read or to simply find yourself wondering what’s happening back at work and how things are.

If necessary, say out loud to yourself something like, “Work over. Time to get back to my holiday.”

Intending to work like this should really only happen if you don’t have someone or some others you can rely on to hold the fort in your absence. The best work during a holiday is big picture thinking and being creative.

5.  Take a journal and some good books and feed your mind

As your brain relaxes, it starts to become creative. This is a perfect time to think about your business from a big picture, strategic perspective and reading a good book on a relevant business subject can really help you get those juices flowing.

Thinking about your business whilst on holiday in a positive, strategic way is a good thing. (Provided your family don’t lose you for hours on end of course.)

Make sure you have a journal with you to write all your new and inspiring ideas.

Only do this if it is fun and relaxing. If it’s a chore then don’t do it.

6.  Tell your family or partner what you intend to do

If you do need to plan some work time then tell your family or partner. Tell them what you intend to do and why you need to do this.

Explain that by doing this you will be far more relaxed because you won’t be worrying about what’s going on back home and that for the vast majority of the time you will be on holiday with them mentally, emotionally as well as physically.

Once they know you are going to have these planned short periods of work and how they will help you enjoy the holiday with them, they’ll probably be ok and be relaxed during those times.

7.  Take care of yourself

Prioritize self-care and relaxation during your holiday.

Engage in activities that help you recharge and disconnect from work. Engaging in hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or exploring new places can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance and return to work refreshed.

8.  Plan your return

I said in point 1 to identify what needs to be done and try and do it up to a week after your return. This way you’ll gain some breathing space during that first week that you’re back from your holiday.

What are your top priorities when you return? Have them planned in your diary so that when you get back you know what you need to do and can focus on them.

Do these two things and you won’t spend the next couple of weeks of your return running from pillar to post, catching up and reacting to the demands of others. That way, your transition back into work is controlled, your stress levels remain low and your holiday memories don’t fade as quickly as they might.


Remember, taking a break and disconnecting from work is not only beneficial for your well-being but also for your long-term productivity. By following these tips and setting clear boundaries, you can enjoy a relaxing holiday without interruptions from work colleagues.

Getting this right takes proper planning and real discipline and– it won’t just happen.

Plan for your business to work in your absence and for you to be left alone as much as possible.


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