When I’m on a holiday I don’t turn on my phone data. This way I get a break from work email and avoid the temptation to scroll through social media. Like any bad habit, removing temptation helps my brain forget about my phone and work while I’m out of the office. With this in mind, and after figuring out one in five of us feels we have to check work email in order to relax, I asked a selection of my Cpl colleagues what helps them forget about work once they’re out of the office.

1. Peter Cosgrove, Group Marketing and Communications Director

Peter Cosgrove uses calendar reminders to make sure everything gets done while he is away.

“It can be a good idea to get an update on what has happened while away and often your colleagues may forget to send this to you even if you have requested this. Popping a reminder in their calendar for the day before you return can be an effective way to remind them.

Change your password before you leave as in some systems you can be locked out on your return or must wait for IT to log you back into the system. More importantly, ensure you have a way to remember your password on your return.

Highlight on your out of office that you will not be checking emails but if it is urgent they can call your mobile, it is very rare that someone thinks something is sufficiently urgent to call you but they will have no issue emailing you. This way you get to totally switch off from work.”

2. Ida Renaud, Head of Technology – Executive Search, Ardlinn

Ida Renaud, from Ardlinn, gets a colleague to switch her passwords and removes her email app from her phone home screen.

“Leave everything in order and for every project or client, have a dedicated person that they can talk to! Always tell your key contacts that you are going to be out and for how long.

Secondly, get a colleague to change your password and move email to the second screen on your phone. That way, you disconnect much quicker and are less tempted to check mails. If something is urgent, ask colleagues to text and then call them back.

Thirdly, leave the office the day you go on holidays with a list sent to your boss and colleagues of all activity and follow up required. That way, you can have peace of mind as if you’re leaving your desk for the weekend!”

3. Rebecca Brown, Senior Recruitment Consultant & the Cpl Science Team

Senior recruitment consultant Rebecca Brown and the Cpl Science team all advise a strong handover and trusting your colleagues in your absence. Their top tips include:

“When we go on holidays my partner puts my phone in the safe in the apartment and keeps the PIN a secret. I am only allowed to check it once in the evening or to call home. After a day or so you don’t miss it.”
“DO NOT I repeat DO NOT look at your emails at all – you only have yourself to blame if you go in and look and then you get stressed. Have a bullet proof handover so your colleagues do not contact you at all.”
“Ask people to send an update of where things are the day before you are due back – so you can pick things up easily on your return”
“…Put your phone on flight mode, so you don’t get any calls and you’ll need to log into wifi to check messages and emails, so it reduces when how much you look at your phone.”

4. Siobhan O’Shea, Client Services Director

Siobhan O’Shea admits it can be a challenge to completely switch off from work while on holidays. She believes knowing what works best for you is key and everyone will be unique in how they approach that balance.  
“I still always check my emails but try to limit the number of times I do that per day and consciously not around my kids or husband so that they know I’m engaged and focussed on them during our valuable time off together. My kids are growing up fast so this is precious time that I won’t get back again. I am always delighted when I’m somewhere where the Wi-Fi is poor as it takes the decision completely out of my hands! “

5. Sharon Thunder, Principal Team lead in Multilingual Recruitment

Sharon Thunder advises ensuring colleagues know how to use the appropriate systems in your absence:

“… Contact all clients and candidates you have been in contact with inform them you’ll be OOO with a point of contact while you are away. If you look after any self-bill clients ensure you have back up that knows how to work the system “

6. Lisa Holt, Cpl Finance & Legal Director

Lisa Holt recommends spending time working hard before a holiday, so you can relax once you’re away.

“Get really organised before you go. Do a very strong handover and leave points of contact for escalating all issues. Turn off your email access but leave your mobile on your out of office for urgent issues.”

7. Sharon Gaffney, HR Recruitment Team Manager

Sharon Gaffney forgets about work by spending time working through her handover with trusted co-workers.

“I think the key to taking a clean break from work and enjoying a holiday is the preparation you do before you leave.

This can take a few days and involves a thorough and honest handover with a trusted colleague. I have a fantastic working relationship with my colleague Geraldine and I can completely switch off from work during my holidays knowing that she is fully informed and prepared during my leave. “

8. Richard Minchin, Office Support Director

Richard Minchin, director of Cpl Office Support, advises taking one long break each year – rather than a few mini-breaks, to adequately switch off.

“Taking all of your annual leave is so important and a couple of key tips that I would personally recommend would be: Plan ahead and take at least 1 break per quarter of the year. Days off here and there doesn’t work so give yourself the adequate time to “switch off”. On a one week break you are only winding down by day 3-4 so I would highly recommend a 2-week break in the summer time. We live in a tech era where everything is instant so if you can switch off your email function on your phone and leave it all behind!”

If you want to forget about work when you’re on holidays follow the advice of our Cpl experts and plan ahead, switch off your email notifications and make sure your colleagues know what is expected of them by putting together a good holiday handover.

Not sure what to include in a handover?

Download the Cpl holiday handover checklist.