The events of recent months have seen many of us dramatically change our work life routine. From trading our busy office environment for the home office or dining table, stepping away from professional duties whilst on furlough, or working under immense pressure on the front line - it certainly hasn’t been ‘business as usual’ lately.
Working from home, of course, has its advantages. We can scrap the daily commute, work from the garden on sunny days, and spend more time with family – work life balance goals that many aspire to.
But alongside these advantages also come challenges. From missing the social aspect of the office and ‘Zoom fatigue’, to struggling to switch off and separate work from play. The reality of working from home can be exhausting.
And then there are those on furlough. Many who have taken this enforced leave of absence have been caring for family or home schooling their children for months. And they have had the constant worry about the future security of their job, as well as financial pressures. It’s been anything but a holiday for them.
Some in the cleaning and security sector have also seen changes to their routine, whilst remaining firmly on the frontline. From different shift patterns to accommodate social distancing, to increased responsibilities when on-site to ensure their practices are COVID-19 safe. It has been a draining few months.
Add to that the confinement of lockdown, and the thought of taking a ‘holiday’ may seem pointless to some. Restrictions have limited our options and it seems there has been a ‘head down’ mentality as we wait for the outlook to improve. But this has meant many people haven’t been taking a break at all, leaving them at risk of exhaustion.
At Facilicom, we have long been aware of the importance of taking a regular break from work. People who do not take their holidays put themselves at risk of burn-out, whilst those that do, tend to be more productive and are better equipped to deal with stressful situations.
We have always proactively encouraged our colleagues to take advantage of their holiday allowance and just last year we took this a step further by trialling unlimited flexible holidays for all management and office staff. Of course, we still expect people to deliver their role, but we also trust them to fit it around taking a break. The two don’t have to be exclusive. We found that people were taking time off when it worked for them, whilst making sure that the job was done, or handed over effectively, before they left.
The entire workforce is supported in their annual leave decisions and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues to encourage them to take a step back and rest. The pressures of juggling work and home can be challenging enough at any time, but as we slowly return to some normality after months of coronavirus restrictions, it has never been more important to switch off and recharge those batteries.
Jan Hein Hemke
Managing Director at Facilicom UK & Ireland