Should you really say au revoir to the office when on holiday?

Posted: August 8, 2011 in Opinion
Tags: , , ,

By Becci Gould, PR Account Executive

Today PR Moment posted an interesting article about whether it is possible to truly ‘switch off’ whilst on holiday, particularly when you work in one of the busiest and time-sensitive industries.

Although working for a small independent PR company in Cardiff rather than a large London agency, I can definitely understand why people find it necessary to monitor emails whilst supposedly ‘relaxing’. It is sometimes more stressful to not know what’s going on than to be oblivious for a week or two and return to an inbox full of confusing emails.

However, for many (myself included), the annual summer holiday is the only 7 days in 365 where one can truly chill out, forget about your worries and lie back with a cocktail (or 6) – surely we are therefore entitled to a little bit of a break from the stresses of working life?

Before the days of smartphones, this dilemma may not have even existed. Going on holiday meant actually leaving the office and overflowing inbox behind, and not having the option to monitor emails removed the guilt of feeling as though you should be on top of things.

I’m sure for some, it might be calming to know everything is still running smoothly in your absence – but what happens when something goes wrong and you return from an early evening dip to a series of panicked emails?

Trying to catch up on what’s happened whilst endeavouring to solve the problem amongst the inevitable time difference confusion, can often cause you more stress than its worth, whilst also muddling up a situation that has usually already been solved.

In fact your colleagues have now probably all gone home and are settled down in front of the TV with a glass of wine – ie. actually relaxing – and by the sounds of it, it’s time for you to do the same!

Employers should, and usually do, have the relevant cover arranged for you when you jet off, so if there’s a problem – it is now their responsibility, not yours. That said, if there really is a problem that can only be solved by you, let your employer know that in emergencies you can be reached by text or phonecall. It is therefore a more conscious decision to make contact rather than automatically copying someone in on an unimportant email without realising they are 5000 miles away and actually couldn’t care less.

In an industry as busy as PR, surely it is important to give practitioners the break they deserve?

Plus the pressure on the company to cope without one key practitioner is a vital test which every business large or small should pass.

Therefore, when I go to Majorca in 3 weeks time, I’m afraid my emails will not be monitored from my sun lounger. I will leave a contact number with my colleagues should I be needed in an emergency, but rest assured I will be using the time to actually relax and rejuvenate after an enjoyable yet exhausting first year within the PR industry.

Au Revoir!


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