As an HR manager and mom, people watch what I do for guidance at home and at work. I have to watch what I say around my 3-year-old, lest he become a foul-mouthed little angel, and I really have to watch what I do in front of staff at the wonderful organization where I work. Even if I really need to catch up, I avoid sending emails late at night in case the recipient thinks that means he needs to be working late too. I often try to appear unavailable on days off, even if I'll just be hanging out and totally able to field a few questions. I take long lunches on workout days and don't act overly concerned about my time away (even if I'm feeling the pressure).
Hattie Hill wrote a nice reminder about the benefit of truly taking time away when you're in a leadership position at work, timed perfectly for today. (Today, I emailed work to say I wouldn't be in because I'm sick, but I've already spent at least 2 hours working this morning. Stop the madness.) Basically, even when not in management, our collective behavior helps to set the tone for the workplace. If we don't take vacation seriously, it encourages others to work too hard; if we apologize for taking care of our health--including mental health--before taking care of the bottom line, that sets an unhealthy standard for the whole team.
I'm going to keep all of that in mind this summer and, as I look forward to a lot of long weekends away this summer, I am going to try my hardest to:
Tell people I'm unavailable when I'm on vacation.
Remove my work email from my phone when I'm taking paid time off.
Broadcast my vacation plans to everyone I talk to at work, so they feel encouraged to take time off too.
- Find ways to get everyone to take extra non-work time this summer--whether that's closing early on Fridays or mandating a long lunch on sunny days.
How about you, friends? Do you truly unplug on vacation, or should we all work on this together?
Let's call it The Summer of Real Vacations. (You know, unless you have little kids...)