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Leadership tips: How to Leave the Office Behind This Summer

Summer vacation is finally upon us, and if you’re a manager or team lead, it’s up to you to set the mood and attitude for your team as they head out the door.


You could just set up your Out of Office message and try to put your to-do list out of your mind. But sometimes it’s hard to let your shoulders down if you know that pile of work will be waiting for you when you get back. And if you feel that way, it’s likely your employees do too – which is not going to help any of you properly recharge over the break.

Vacation guilt is a real thing, but you can shake it off by reframing your thinking. Here are a couple of things you can tell yourself to quiet that inner monologue:

  • You’ve already made the decision to take time off, and your workload is going to be the same whether you worry about it or not – the only difference is that you’ll be able to tackle it better if you’re well-rested and happy on your return.
  • If there’s an absolute crisis, people know where and how to reach you.
  • Vacation is part of your contract, which means your company (and your government if it’s part of your labour laws) knows its value. This isn’t kindness; it’s to keep you healthy and productive.
  • They’ll survive without you. As hard as it is to accept that you’re not indispensable, no individual person taking a summer vacation has ever been responsible for a company’s collapse.

If you think your employees might be sharing some of your vacation guilt or stress, share these ideas with them. And this year, instead of sending out a stock-standard email letting your staff know your vacation dates, try these easy ways to help them leave the office behind and recharge their batteries properly:

  • Make sure everyone has a clear summary of who will be away and when – an absence calendar is a great tool for this! It’s especially crucial if your team has staggered their vacation, or if there are people staying behind to make the most of the quiet period.
  • If you use a lunch service or canteen, let people know what’s happening with it over the summer. It can also be a good idea to research and inform your team about any nearby cafés and eateries that will be open as alternatives.
  • Remind your colleagues to turn off work notifications on their phones while they’re on vacation – and remind yourself too!
  • Organise something fun for the last day before the majority of people leave, even if it’s as simple as buying ice cream for your team. Make it a send-off rather than an escape.

AdobeStock_213732524Most of all, make sure your employees realise that you encourage and support their time off. Without it their work and life quality will suffer – which of course has an impact on your organisation. More to the point, you all work hard and have earned a break.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and turn your face to the sun. Now let that breath go and imagine all your stress blowing away with it. Doesn’t that feel good?

From all of us at CatalystOne, have a safe and happy summer. You deserve it!

Zoë Harris

Zoë Harris, 28 June 2019

Zoë Harris is a content marketing specialist who has worked with companies across the Nordics and the world since moving from Australia in 2006. With a background in communication strategy, UX writing, creative writing, and copywriting/editing, she's inspired by the human stories that make each business or organisation unique.

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