Bridge Insights

The Hard Work of Taking Time off Work: How to Fully Unplug on Your Next Staycation

Oct 19, 2020

No matter what desk (or table) you currently call your office, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important, but we all know that is easier said than done.

With our culture of instant gratification and technology literally at our fingertips, it can be challenging to truly unplug. And when you inevitably take your requisite COVID-19 staycation, the desire to resist a “quick check” of your work emails can be even more challenging.

Despite being a stone’s throw away from your home office, taking time off work and finding time to simply unwind is important. (I could argue it’s more important than ever before, actually.) Given the state of the working world today, learning how to truly relax and practice self-care can feel like a job in and of itself; it takes work.

So, let’s talk about how you can prepare for any upcoming staycations you’re thinking of taking, and some best practices you can try to help you fully disconnect from work.

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How to Create a “WFH” Space

When I started working from home, I thought working at the kitchen table was a good idea. I had plenty of space, good cell phone service, and a strong wifi connection. However, I soon learned that I wasn’t physically comfortable, and that was impacting my productivity. Thankfully, a family member was able to give me an office chair to use with the desk I had in a spare bedroom, and voila! It became my new office.

Another thing I noticed when I first started working from home was that I wasn’t mentally disconnecting from work. I’d log off for the night, but when I was eating dinner, my computer and all my work materials would be sitting right next to me.

Whether you have a small corner in a room or a designated room as your office, it is extremely important to have a specific spot just for work. The supplies you have in your office are important, too. Do you have enough pens? If you need a printer, does it have ink? Is there enough room for you to be productive in your designated workspace and is that space strictly for working?

Creating that separate space where you solely focus on work is important so that you can mentally disconnect until it’s starting time tomorrow.

How to Unplug When Taking a Staycation

When you take time off from work, it’s important to take that time for you.

If you’re taking a staycation, it’s important to let your peers know, so they don’t call you or send you texts during your time off. If you have a work email or softphone line routed to your phone, you may also want to put up an out of office message to notify people outside your company you will be unavailable and who they may contact in your absence.

Framing your staycation as “time for yourself” as opposed to “time away from work” can also be helpful.

You can sit down, binge watch a new tv show, complete a DIY home project, go through your closet, donate items around the house that you don’t need anymore, etc.

Going on a staycation doesn’t mean you are trapped in your house either; you can pack a lunch, have a picnic, go to a state park and take a hike, or volunteer at a local animal shelter, too.

Taking a Break From Work Can Be Hard Work

According to Forbes, 22% of remote workers find themselves struggling to disconnect from work. Not all of the tips in this article will work for you, and it will take some trial and error to determine which ones do and make changes as necessary.

Even if you don’t think you need time off, trust me, you do. And when you take some off, you will be glad you did. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to physically go anywhere special to unplug and take time for yourself. Staying home and sleeping in or spending time with your family is not a waste of your PTO; these are great ways to refresh, reset, and come back to work ready to take on the world!

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Putting It All Together

When you really think about how to professionally decline a job offer, put yourself in the position of the hiring manager. A considerable amount of time, resources, and energy (from both you and the company) went into the process that led to you being offered a job. You never want to appear disrespectful, unappreciative, or inconsiderate of this.

If you’re ever in doubt of what to say when declining a job offer, thanking your company contact(s) for their time and being honest, direct, and professional with your communication is always a sure bet to be seen as professional.