Even if it does prove to be a source of personal and social fulfilment, work must be put on the back burner during the holiday season. We also need to know how to disconnect from work during vacations – this is how we recharge our batteries.

1 – Taking a vacation is a right

Vacations are sacred! Taking a break from work to unwind is an absolute necessity if we are to remain effective, creative and well-adjusted. Did you know that the principle of paid vacation was introduced in France in 1853 by decree of Napoleon III?  Albeit for the benefit of civil servants only. It was in 1936, under the Popular Front government, that the 40-hour working week and paid vacations were assured for all.

2 -Taking a vacation is a duty

Occupational psychologists are unanimous in the view that vacations have an impact on professional life and on productivity. A rested employee will be considerably more effective than a tired employee. If you love your work, take a break from it so that you can rediscover your passion.

3 – Stop thinking of yourself as indispensable

Sure, nothing can get done without you… Care to check that? Try the impossible: tell yourself that your colleagues also have skills, expertise and that it is time to place your trust in them…

4 – Organize a proper handover

Deal with your paranoia: your colleagues do not particularly want to take on your issues or your job. Pass on all the necessary information. Give them the means to resolve any issues that may arise. Develop a positive image of yourself by demonstrating that you are transparent and constructive.

5 – Nominate a handover person

Arrange for a colleague to address any urgent matters on your behalf during your absence. Be sure to give him or her any documents they may need to do so.

6 – Enable your voicemail and automatic email response

Have you warned everyone? Sure? As a precaution, create a voicemail message to indicate your absence and expected date of return. Don’t be embarrassed – there is no point in pretending to be at a seminar or on a business trip. Simply state clearly: “I am on vacation from XX to XX. I will pick up your message on my return and will get back to you as soon as possible. In an emergency, please contact Mr. Y”.

7 – Latest Trend: change your SIM card

Leave your smartphone at home and buy a temporary SIM card with a new number that you can give out to family and friends only. If that is too drastic for you, replace your smartphone with an old handset that only receives voicemail and text messages. You will feel genuinely revived…

8 – Do not enable automatic email checking

Configure your email manager so that it does not automatically check your inbox in real time. If possible, do a single manual check each morning. That should be sufficient.

9 – Respond to “genuine” emergences

You may find yourself deluged with urgent messages as soon as you set off on vacation. Take time to consider the urgency of these messages and try to distinguish a colleague’s shameless request from a genuine problem. Only respond to messages if you consider it absolutely necessary.

10 – Disable read receipt on your emails

When you check your inbox, those writing to you will not receive proof that you have read their emails. This means that you can take your time to reply, even if you have “accidentally” opened your emails right in the middle of a game of boules.

11- If work cannot be avoided, ration your time!

Nothing else for it? Do they really need your expertise? So organize a time for work and time for relaxation, and stick to it. For example, you could devote the morning to your work and the afternoon to your family and going on outings. Do not allow your work to destroy your vacation.

12 – Plan your departure… and your return

It is not just your vacation that needs to be planned, so does your absence from work! The last week of work should basically be devoted to getting your matters in order and organizing the handover. You should not be doing anything the day before your departure… unless you want to take some work to the beach!

We wish you happy holidays!