We’ve all done it – had a sneaky peak at our work emails when we should be enjoying family time, but now one team of experts have come up with tips on how to switch off from work over Christmas.
Experts at the London School of Marketing have taken the time management techniques they teach as part of their MBA courses, and applied them to the festive period.
Pre-planning in the office is important, both making sure your workload is complete and letting colleagues and customers know you’re unavailable over the festive break.
And they even suggest encouraging the whole family to digital cold turkey on Christmas Day to make the most of the time you have together.
If that all goes according to plan, then making a New Year resolution to set clear boundaries between work and home means you’ll never have the problem again.
Anton Dominique, from the London School of Marketing said: “Thanks to all the technology we have now, it is easy for the Christmas break to turn into another day at the office.
“Christmas is a time for family and we must never lose sight of that. Spending time together is important and by making a few small changes, we can make the most of that time off.
“Completing tasks and handing over to colleagues will mean work is sorted. At home, it’s all about going digital cold turkey. That can seem daunting, but it has the potential to make Christmas a whole lot more special – and a lot less stressful.”
Here are London School of Marketing’s tips on making the most of Christmas time together.
- Make preparations at work for while you’re away
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, draw up a realistic task list of everything that needs completing before you leave, and then set out to tick these off. If there is too much work to do, either prioritise and delay what is non-essential or delegate some of your workload to others.
- Draft up the perfect ‘Out of Office’ response
Before you leave, set the tone by making sure everyone knows you’ll be taking a break. Phrase your out of office so that it is clear you won’t be glancing at your inbox until after the festive period and leave clear instructions for who can be contacted in your absence.
- Switch off from work emails
Although it can be tempting to double-check your office email account in case of an emergency, this can be a slippery slope. Your family is more important and deserve your full attention. Christmas only happens one day a year and the office will still be standing when you get back.
- Make it your New Year’s Resolution to set better boundaries between work and home life – and stick to it
If you are to manage your time better, then you need to refrain from creating unrealistic expectations of your availability amongst colleagues or bosses. Making yourself indispensable is one thing, but giving people the impression you can be contacted day or night, even with issues that can wait until office hours, is asking for problems. It is important to contactable in a crisis, so clarify what constitutes an emergency and stipulate how you’d prefer to be reached.
- Make a family pact to do digital cold turkey for the day
Make a pact to ban all devices on Christmas day. Everyone has to be committed if the idea is to have legs. If the idea of going device-free for a whole day is too much, then perhaps set some rules for particular times or places.
- Unplug the WIFI router and haul out the board games!
If no one in your family can quite bring themselves to unplug and switch off, then perhaps it’s time to tell a little white lie and say the Wi-Fi is down. Unplug the router and hide the power cord! Or set limits on when your router is on through your router control panel. This will immediately cut down on idle online surfing and force everyone to use web time more effectively.