Plan your vacation to reap the rewards

Good preparation can help employees enjoy their time off and be more productive once they return
||Last Updated: 12/16/2005

The holiday season is fast approaching and people are planning vacations in order to relax and have fun with family and friends.

However, wrapping up work before heading off on vacation — and then forgetting about it while you’re away — can often seem like an impossible task.

Although vacations are a time to relax and reduce stress, many workers have a hard time leaving the office behind. This is especially true for small business owners who have few resources to help carry the workload in their absence.

Ceridian Canada, an employee assistance program provider, has created a top ten list on strategies to help employees reduce vacation-related stress while also reducing the risk of post-vacation blues.

1. It is important to have a feeling of completion and closure when leaving work before a holiday — try to tie off as many loose ends as you can to accomplish this feeling.

2. On your last day of work before a vacation, organize a ‘to do’ list ready for your return. This will assist you to feel relaxed on your holiday and help you to feel organized when you return, even if you are back at work in body but not in spirit.

3. Don’t wait until you are exhausted or feeling burned out to schedule a vacation — plan regular vacation time and remember to use your yearly vacation allotment. Everyone needs time to recharge, especially those with stressful work situations and family challenges. In fact, some organizations are now requiring employees to take their vacation entitlement yearly.

4. If you must be in contact with work while away, restrict the time/day/opportunity. Do not say “I am available at any time if you need me” — you will be diminishing the benefit of the break.

5. Set realistic expectations for a successful vacation: try “I am looking forward to sleeping in” not “This is going to be the best vacation ever”.

6. If possible, plan at least one day before and one day after returning from holiday to allow for transition time. This way you can prepare for the holiday or ease back into your routine without an abrupt change.

7. Try to practice being ‘present’ while away — avoid thinking about responsibilities, tasks or concerns that await back home.

8. If possible, read e-mails or listen to voicemails on the transition day to avoid feeling bombarded when you actually return to the office.

9. Spontaneous or last minute holidays don’t create opportunity for anticipation and excitement. It is best to plan ahead so you can reap the all the benefits from your vacation.

10.Start thinking about your next vacation when you return — it is important to have something to look forward to avoid the ‘post-vacation blues’.

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