As Stanley Kubrick's classic The Shining tells us "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" and this still rings true today; employees that spend too much time at work will find their social lives suffer.
We all understand the importance of getting work actions completed before heading home, but there has to be a line drawn or people end up missing out on social activities with friends and family. In a perfect world everyone should take time out of their hectic business lives to stop, relax and recharge.
There's a saying which tells people to 'work smarter, not harder' and with that in mind, here are my top tips on how to work smart and make the most of time away from the office.
• Eat breakfast - nobody likes leaving work on their to-do list when heading off on holiday, and this is much less likely to happen when working at peak levels. Instead of just grabbing a coffee in the morning, fuel up properly and take a few minutes to eat a meal or enjoy a protein shake - even if it's on the go.
• Stop setting unrealistic goals - setting goals can be a great way to organise time both in work and out of the office. If these goals are unrealistic, not only will targets be missed but time will be wasted trying to achieve them.
• Keep on top of your finances - managing cash flow is vital in business and it's important to carry this into your personal life. Keeping a box of receipts that piles up can be hugely time consuming, so using accounting software will ease both the time and financial strain. It can chase outstanding payments even when employees responsible for this are lounging on the beach, further guaranteeing the summer holidays can be stress free.
• Manage your devices - Bring Your Own Device is being implemented in many offices and allows employees to use their own laptops or handheld devices in the office. However, this can mean people fall into the habit of checking their work emails or finishing projects during their downtime. To make sure this isn't the case, it's important to resist the temptation of taking work devices on holiday. By making sure vital business information such as financial accounts are easily accessible to more than one person will mean everyone can have time to switch off at some point. Holidays will immediately become less stressful.
• Understand your working patterns - People who work best during a specific time of the day should block out those hours for dedicated work time. Short breaks throughout the day are vital though, as a rest from the computer and a healthy snack can keep energy levels and productivity high so the most can be made of free time once 5.30pm comes around, rather than the office being full of fatigued employees staying late to finish projects.
Following these five simple rules on a daily basis can have an instant impact on the work-life balance and will allow anyone lucky enough to have holiday coming up to have a stress-free time without work worries plaguing their time away.