What a great article on the steps being taken at Daimler to manage work-life balance.
I really like how employees are encouraged to take control of their time to manage their work-life balance. Be it through knowing they don’t have an inbox from hell to return too, or by blocking time when no meetings can be scheduled so they can concentrate on their job or take a few hours for those extra one’s worked late.
Having that blocked off time can give you the freedom to think without being interrupted, an essential tool which good leaders and employees use because that time allows your creative brain to take over which can lead to innovative ways to finding a solution.
I can imagine not all employers will take the Daimler approach to email management whilst on holiday, but here’s an idea to try which can achieve a similar result.
Next time you book a holiday, immediately block out your first day back from holiday so no meetings can be booked in. That’s NO meetings!
Now split that day into two halves. Label the first half “Email reading” and the second half “Email actioning”.
During the morning you can get up to speed on all that’s been going on by reading what’s been happening whilst you’ve been away. You’ll naturally start to work out your prioritised list of actions you need to take which you can start working through in the afternoon.
Resist the temptation to action whilst reading (which you may do on an average working day). You don’t know whether that email is priority number 1 or 100 until you’ve taken in the whole picture you’ve returned to, and you’ll kick yourself if you spend an hour working on priority 100 then find the next email really needed that hour you’ve just spent.
Now comes the tricky bit when you finish work to go on holiday…
Enjoy your holiday and forget about work until that moment you step back in the office.
Temptation will be to look at the inbox “to clear things out so I can focus tomorrow” on the day before you return to work.
Why would you consciously try and cut your holiday short by a day?! You’ve worked hard, you deserve to enjoy as much of it as possible.
Be vigilant with yourself and take confidence from the fact you’ve given yourself the time to work through your inbox.
Employers aren’t going to take that time off you. You are after all working if you’re reading through and actioning your work emails. What you’re doing is owning your time to work as effectively as possible on your return from holiday. What employer would object to that?
If you’ve got a business phone, leave your emails until you start work on that first day back, not before.
Your holiday time is important for you to relax and recuperate and come back to work refreshed and ready for the next challenge. Even deleting emails will take your head out of that holiday space because your subconscious brain links your business phone or laptop to work.
What you’re doing here is owning your time and how it is used, not letting your inbox own it for you.
So next time you book a holiday, own your time.
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