We live in a world where it has become nearly impossible to disconnect from the internet for extended periods of time. Our smartphones allow us to stay up-to-date with news, social media and work-related information all the time even when we are on the go. As a result of this, it is becoming more common for people to stay connected to work through emails and calls even when they are on holiday or away from work.
In the last year, remote working has become more common due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More people are working from home now than ever before and a lot of us have also had to spend our holidays at home due to the pandemic related travel restrictions in place across the world. Therefore, work-life integration has become the norm and there has been increased pressure on employees to ‘check-in’ on work even during their time off.
So the question is whether you should be checking emails or taking work-related calls during your holidays? Here are some things that you might want to consider when deciding for yourself:
Your Mental Health
Disconnecting from work is important for managing your mental health. Even the simplest of work-related email or call is bound to cause some level of stress which can eventually lead to burnout. Also, if you come across an important issue that you cannot deal with during your time off then it may make you anxious and cause unnecessary strain. Relaxing and recharging on holidays allows you to be at your optimal best when you return to work. If you try and work on your time off then you are also likely to hold a grudge about having to do so.
Managing Urgent Work
You should include an alternate contact on your out-of-office notification so people can reach out to them while you are away. That way, you know that someone is looking into urgent matters in your absence. In most cases, your emails and calls can wait until you are back in work unless a major issue comes up that only you can attend to. In that case, your designated colleague can reach out to you directly for the issue that requires your immediate attention.
Understanding Your Entitlements
You are legally entitled to your leaves and you are probably not going to get paid extra for working on your holidays. So it is important that you make the most of your entitlements.
Disconnecting from the internet and staying away from smartphones can also help your brain to recharge. Excess smartphone and social media usage can cause over-stimulation of the brain due to constant bombardment of information.
Recovering From Zoom Fatigue
‘Zoom Fatigue‘ refers to the exhaustion caused by too many video calls. If you are planning to take calls during your time off then you need to be cognizant of the fact that such calls can also be tiring and so you need to stay away from them to recover from Zoom fatigue.