Are you really out of office?

“I will call my assistant and have her send you the (information) right away.”. This was the end of a conversation which drifted my way across the resort pool. It was the all to familiar sound of a worker contacted while on holiday.

It is not unusual to see people sitting around a pool on holiday, cocktail in one hand, smart phone in the other and a laptop perched on their lap. In fact, according to research from The Australian Institute’s Centre for Future Work, it is the scary new norm.

The fact which technology allows us to be contactable 24/7 is taking its toll on our ability to switch off and take time out.

The research showed half of those workers entitled to paid annual leave did not take it all. The most common reasons cited were work pressures, feeling guilty to take leave or saving it up to use later.  Consequently, those who saved it for later, did not take it.

In addition, the Fair Work Commission has allowed workers to cash out their annual leave. The result – more workers choose to take up the cash offer. Thus making the great annual Aussie holiday in danger of becoming obsolete.

The impact of workers not taking their annual leave has economic, social and health impacts. Everyone needs a break away from the workplace. As humans, we are not programmed to work 24/7.

With the continued improvement in communication devices, it is easy to stay connected to the workplace.  It may be simple to send a quick email reply to a colleague or customer. But one email soon turns into several. 


Quite soon your week long relaxing island getaway turns into a work week. You then return home feeling as tired and flat as you were before you left.

The consistent being available to answer work questions on holiday is taking a toll on our health. So when we are out of office, it seems to be in body only. Our minds are still fixed prominently on the workplace.

We need to be able to know when to switch off. Taking time out for ourselves will see us as more productive and focused. A break away from the office allows you to recharge your batteries and clear your mind.

Following a decent break, you will return to the office with a clearer head to make better decisions. You will be more productive.
Photos courtesy of Google clip art gallery

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