With mobile devices always within easy reach, it’s becoming more and more difficult for Canadians to “unplug” from the office during time off work.
In fact, more than one-third of Canadian employees (34%) check in with the office while on holiday, according to a recent study conducted on behalf of Toronto-based staffing firm Accountemps. And financial advisors — whether employees or business owners — are likely to fall into that group.
This tendency has some negative consequences for overall productivity.
“Few people can be at their best without taking regular time to rest and recharge,” says Derek Wood, regional manager for Accountemps. “Taking a break is essential to recharging and bringing a fresh approach to business projects and challenges.”
Although employees are often looking forward to their time off, they don’t have a clear objective as to why they might want to unplug, says Michèle Soregaroli, co-founder of Vancouver-based Transformation Catalyst Corp.
As a financial advisor, understanding why you might want to disconnect —to feel regenerated or even just to have fun — is key.
Next, you need to figure out what’s stopping you from reaching your goals. Some advisors can’t unplug while on vacation because they’re in the habit of working, they don’t want to return to a large workload, and they’re concerned that team members may not be able to handle problems that arise, Soregaroli says.
Here are some tips to help you prepare to detach from the office:
> Practice unplugging beforehand
If being unplugged from the office puts you in unfamiliar territory, Soregaroli says, try it out before leaving for vacation. Try disappearing on a Friday and letting team members know you’re not going to be touching base.
> Anticipate potential problems
Another tactic is role playing with team members, Soregaroli says. If you are concerned about particular hiccups that might occur in your absence, start a discussion around ways to approach those issues.
“By planning ahead and providing trusted colleagues with all the resources necessary to take over key projects,” Wood says, “you can rest assured that responsibilities are being handled in your absence and you won’t feel the need to check in.”
Letting your team handle decisions when you are not there also can be an empowering experience, Soregaroli says. Try reframing your holiday as an opportunity for growth among your team.
> Clear your schedule in advance
Notify clients and colleagues in other departments about your holiday plans and don’t forget to set an “out of office” message on your email and voicemail.
Then, try to clear your schedule the week before you leave, so that you have adequate time to complete outstanding or last-minute tasks. It’s also a good idea to clean out your email inbox, Wood says.
> Ditch the devices
It can be tempting to keep your laptop, and especially your smartphone, close by, even when you’re on vacation. Consider leaving these devices behind — or out of sight — when you’re enjoying much-needed time off.