Last week, while at a work dinner I got talking to one of the Managers at my new job. I was telling him about the holiday I was going on and he was lamenting the fact that he never gets to use his annual leave, and could he have it paid out, instead of using it?* This is a question I am often asked, and I really don't understand it. I love going on holidays. Are there people who don't? I generally like work too, but the thought of no routine, lazing about, going somewhere new or immersing myself in a different culture is too much of a pull for me. I tend to use all my annual leave each year and am always having to save up my leave for the next holiday.
Part of my role in companies I have worked for is to help the business manage their annual leave accrual, which has become very large, and employees need to be encouraged or forced to go on leave, usually once an employee has more than 20 days leave in their bank. This seems a shame to me. The Union movement in Australia fought long and hard for employees to have good benefits, leave being one of them. Employees accuring such large amounts of leave, in my opinion, comes about in a couple of ways:
1. The business has no 'redundancy' in their structure, for example; companies can't afford to let people take leave because they have no way of replacing the work they do when they are gone, and/or
2. There seems to be a culture in Australia of working, working, working with no break. Exhausting.
When I was talking with this manager last week I said that even if I could pay out his leave, I fundamentally disagree with doing so. My belief is that people need a break, whether your work is physical or mental, taking some leave lets the body and mind rejuvenate. You know how you often have your best ideas when you're in the shower, or driving in the car? It's because you mind has switched off and is able to freely think. Holidays do something similar and with a few weeks off imagine what you can achieve when you return to work?
I'm very lucky of course. I'm writing this post from my balcony overlooking the palm lined beach at Fiji. Not everyone gets to do this, but even just spending some time at home has great benefits. Letting your mind and body rest lets different thought patterns emerge, even if you can't get away. If I have holidays over the Christmas/New Year period or during January (I call this time "Summer in the City") then I spend time at home and do outings around Sydney.
Are you longing for a break but can't see the end in sight? Here are a few ideas to get you through until you can have a proper holiday.
Sometimes it is really hard to get a chunk of time off, so I've found this day of inspiration for you. And a day of inspiration is better then nothing! Pulled together by my lovely friend Amanda Webb at One Degree HR this workshop is running in Sydney on 5 September. You can find all the info here . See you there!
Starting in May each year, my Husband Arran participates in the Global Corporate Challenge. It's basically a health and well-being oriented team activity that his workplace participates in. Well our whole family ends up participating because for 16 weeks he wears a pedometer and wants us to walk everywhere. Lucky I like walking too. I think it's a great initiative because it produces excellent benefits for the people who participate. Have a look at this link. It's not a holiday but it has lots of scientifically proven benefits. Does your workplace participate?
Just for mePacking your back-pack and heading for the hills is not the only way to rejuvenate your mind and body. During my busy week I aim to attend a couple of Pilates classes and one Yoga class at Quro Health Studio. The parts I like best are the meditative parts, where you focus on breathing. In and out. Simple and effective. Meditation has so many benefits and can be as good as a holiday and something you can practice every day. Don't know much about meditation? Have a read here about the benefits that can be achieved in as little as 10 minutes a day.
*Most employment legislation in Australia prevents the paying out on leave, unless under termination of employment.