- Working from home has made it harder for workers to truly unplug from work.
- Supporting workers’ work-life boundaries is one component of several that drive health and happiness.
- Danny Speros, VP of People Operations at Zenefits, shares 3 strategies leaders can implement to encourage workers to actually unplug during the holidays.
If there’s a time of the year to unplug from work and enjoy spending time with loved ones, it’s the holiday season. However, many professionals continue to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, making it harder than ever for them to unplug from work and enjoy home life (and not just during the holidays).
With the end of year festivities only a few weeks away, Allwork.Space spoke with Danny Speros, VP of People Operations at Zenefits to discuss why it’s important for workers to find some time to unplug during the holidays and what strategies leaders can implement to encourage workers to take time off and make sure that they can (actually) enjoy their break.
Allwork.Space: Why is it important for workers to set healthy work-life boundaries during the holiday break?
Danny Speros: It’s fair to say that 2021 has been a challenging year for many across the world. The global pandemic, along with other external factors, continues to test our resilience and abilities, particularly when it comes to workplace expectations. The evolving needs of workers changes almost daily and as a result, it should come as no surprise that what constitutes a ‘healthy’ work-life balance will also need to evolve. This is not a short-term fix but a long-term investment.
The truth is that hybrid and remote working have perhaps changed the HR industry forever, but nothing will properly change for the better unless boundaries are set and respected.
While hybrid and remote working come with a long list of benefits, they can also lead to burnout. The holidays bring additional activities outside of work and more stress. It’s essential that leaders encourage workers to take a much-deserved break this holiday season. From a people operations approach, leaders must never lose sight of the fact that workers are the backbone of any organization, and their health and happiness can have direct impacts on organizational performance.
Supporting workers’ work-life boundaries is one component of several that drive health and happiness – it’s the sum of all parts, just like the health and happiness of the organization itself.
Allwork.Space: Sometimes, things are easier said than done. Can you share some strategies that can be effective in helping workers unplug from work during the holidays?
- Be communicative about your holiday plans, set OOO (out of office) reminders, and block your calendars.
- Establish priorities for your team now. For the most part, people are already slowing down so the race to finish everything before end-of-year may not make sense. Have a conversation with your manager and team leaders about what actually needs to get done.
- Set an example as a leader. Show that taking time off is important in the long run. Leaders should set the tone for the holiday workload. Don’t be a grinch and send emails when you know others will be offline.
Allwork.Space: On the employee side of things, what are some steps workers can take ahead of the holidays to ensure they have a healthy work-life balance for the end of the year festivities?
Plan ahead as much as you can. Many people are gearing up for the next year with planning for goals and objectives. Being realistic about deadlines is an important step workers can discuss with their managers and advocate for themselves.
Map out a timeline of what needs to get done, and when it needs to get done for the sake of full transparency. It also wouldn’t hurt to build it out beyond the holidays, so employees understand what they are coming back to, rather than diving back in blindly after a lengthy break.
This will minimize the dread of returning to work, as well as give them the comfort of knowing exactly where they left off, and what’s next.
Allwork.Space: Anything else you’d like to add?
Work and life are blended more than ever before. Establishing workable boundaries and expectations around the holidays not only helps people recharge at this time, but it can also help set the stage for the coming year.
While the future is always somewhat uncertain, one thing that is certain is these boundaries will continue to be tested. Setting goals, prioritizing, and transparency are the kinds of behaviors that will pay dividends year-round.”