Working remotely makes working holidays easier than ever – you can travel to a new location, log on during the day and basically escape without having to use your PTO days. But many people come back from these “breaks” even more heartbreakingly than when they left.
About 61% of Americans who took work holidays in the past year did not consider them a “true” vacation, according to Expedia’s latest Holiday Deprivation study of 14,500 working adults across 16 countries. What’s more, 72% of people who worked during their holidays said they felt more tired than ever.
Melanie Fish, head of global public relations for Expedia Group Brands, knows this from experience. During the pandemic, he tried to take a working vacation from a rented house in the woods, “and it was really stressful for me to hear my family preparing for a walk while I was trying to reply to an email,” he said. “He taught me that not all trends are good.”
Fish acknowledges that it takes “age and experience” to feel comfortable taking a week off work and going completely off the grid. But she also sees it as a necessary management skill and models it for her employees: “As a leader, you don’t do your job if your team can’t get along without you for a few days.”
Expedia Group employees receive 15 to 25 days paid leave and up to $ 1,500 in travel and welfare reimbursements per year. They also have access to special hotel and travel discounts through their platforms.
Fish admits that disengagement for a long vacation can come back to bite him, as when he recently returned from a week-long beach trip in Florida to 3,000 unread emails. Here, she shares her secret for a smooth transition from vacation mode to work mode, along with what she learned from her European colleagues and the cruel advice she would give herself 25 years old for checking his ego.
Her secret for transitioning from vacation to work image: I like to keep the kind of secret I’m back for as long as possible. I set my outside of the office for a little longer than I actually am, and I don’t set Slack to active until I catch up on what’s been happening over the past week. It doesn’t always work. But just because I’m back at the office at 8am on a Monday after a few days away doesn’t mean people need me at 8 am.b. on Monday.
So go ahead and block that calendar for a few hours. Keep the message out of that office. Keep Slack inactive. Give yourself the opportunity to enter at a reasonable speed.
How to respond to a manager who doesn’t respect time off: I’ve had amazing bosses who I’m very clear with – “I’m taking this time off, I won’t check email, here’s who to contact with them, or text me if you really need me “- and they’ve respected it.
I had a boss one time who looked at me incredulously and said, “Well, I’ve never heard of a person in your job who wasn’t constantly emailing even during the holidays.” In that moment, I had to take a deep breath, stand up straight and say, “If you need something different, make it clear, and we can talk about it. But I’m not checking my email constantly when I’m ahead personal time off. “
Company leaders have the obligation to model good behavior, and not only encourage people to take their time off, but not punish them for doing so.
How to reduce your workload to make room for time off: When you have a holiday off work, look at the meetings scheduled for that Monday and think, “Do you do I need to reschedule this meeting for Tuesday, or can we set it going for this week? ” What good is the holiday if it doubles the workload you have to do the next day?
What she has learned from her European colleagues: It helps to have a team in Europe. They don’t make a mess of time off, and it’s inspiring. My European colleagues do not feel that they need to apologize for the time off they are taking — and should not. They have bank holidays. Summer is turning into an extremely slow time. And because it’s universal in the culture, not just within one company, it normalizes the need for time off rather than making it something to feel embarrassed about not working.
What she would say to her 25-year-old self about taking time off: I would say to my 25-year-old: “You’re not so important that your workplace can’t get away with you for a few days. “I would say that to my 25-year-old self. I’m not going to tell the 25-year-olds on my team. Hopefully I’m modeling that behavior so there’s no need to say it.
The ability to close it completely on vacation has brought age and experience. There was a time at all when I felt the need to be constantly involved in what was happening at work. And in retrospect, I’m not so sure if the expectation of my workplace was as much as my own ego I thought they wouldn’t be able to come over while I was taking three days off. And that’s just silly.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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