3 reasons to not use the holiday break to catch up
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
It is generally understood in the world of corner offices and cubicles not to expect any work to get done during the week between Christmas and New Year's. Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, most people in most offices are on break.
For those of us constantly looking for more time in the day, this can be an enticing time work through the backlog. While it might sound appealing, here are three reasons not to use the holiday break to catch up.
1. You won't
There are two main reasons we can get behind at work. First, our team is understaffed, underbudgeted or in some way under-resourced. If that is the case, a week of working is not going to solve the problem.
It may be possible to catch up after a few days of uninterrupted emailing and filing, but because it is a systemic problem, the backlog will quickly return.
The second reason we can get behind is a discrete event, like busy season or the short-term absence of a key employee. In such cases, the problem is short-term and solvable. It is also known, which means it is likely no one expects anything other than for the team to be a little busy and behind.
Thus, there is likely little expectation or reason to sacrifice time away for this one-time event.
2. It's an exception
Regardless of industry, religious affiliation or geographic area, almost everyone is expected to be off during the week. At the very least, it is understood there are two long weekends in a row, and most people are either given or take the days in between off. That makes this particular week an exception.
In other words, it is like a free pass to take time off — real time off, the kind with no emails, no conference calls and no popping into the office in casual clothes to clear off the desk. This is the one week of the year we can get away with not showing up in the office, with no need for an excuse or explanation.
Take advantage of that. It only comes once a year.
3. Superman syndrome
Just because we can does not mean we should. Anyone thinking about working during the holiday week is likely the type of employee who works long hours, after hours and more hours than anyone else. This is the type of employee who needs a real break more than more hours to catch up.
Creativity, productivity and efficiency all improve when we are rested and focused. Leaders are better when they get enough sleep, and everyone benefits from taking time off. This week is a given, take it.
Thus, whether it is you or someone on your team looking longingly at the quiet office time between Christmas and New Year's, stop it. Everyone needs a break and employees who take real breaks — no email, filing or desk clearing included — will return to work refreshed and ready to take on whatever the new year brings.
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