Due to covid, employees have already had enough free time. Yes, they call it working from home (WFH), but of course, you don't really believe that anything that looked like work was done, do you? Children have been home educated, puppies have been raised, new floors have appeared and kitchens renovated, but too little attention has been paid to the KPIs of your organization, the SMART objectives, and your teams' OKR's! And then those same employees would also go on a holiday? Here are five tips for the manager to keep your people engaged while on holiday.
Use psychological warfare 💭 "Are you sure you can go on vacation? Have you really finished everything?” “Watch out, someone else will be in your place when you get back.” “Shall we schedule the performance evaluation on the day you get back from your leave?” There is a good chance that after such comments y employee thinks a lot about work during the holiday, and things will change. Picked up. And that's exactly the point, of course.
Mandate employees to be reachable 📞 All nice and well, the so-called "right" to be unreachable, but they can do that with another employer. You demand persistence and commitment to the organization. So you oblige everyone to be reachable, even on their annual leave. A company phone is nonsense of course. Everyone uses his or her private telephone, also for work, and therefore also on holiday. Logic.
Set deadlines right after their holidays 📆 That big report on the future of the department? The Project Initiation Document? The new company video? These must all be submitted within three days of the employee's return. That way, you know for sure that work will continue during their holidays, otherwise, it will not be finished. Because if a deadline is not met or a shitty report is submitted, there will be a conversation. That'll teach them! Time to relax, how dare they?!
Schedule meetings during their holidays 💻 They say that people get new ideas while on vacation – at least, that's what you read in a trending article about happiness and work pressure. The best way to test if that's true is to schedule meetings during their holidays. Zoom meetings on the beach are an excellent opportunity to ask whether they have already come up with refreshing ideas for solving XYZ. And if they don't, then the holiday is useless and you can say that subtly: 'That holiday makes little sense, you're not at the office, and you're not coming up with anything, or inventing anything new...'
Send WhatsApps (and emails, many emails..) 📧 📧 📧 As a manager, you are naturally busy with important matters. You constantly spam the mailboxes of all employees with things that need to be done. Even when they are on vacation. And because you are not sure whether they read their email, you send a WhatsApp message after each email: 'I have sent you an email. You don't have to, but maybe you should read it.' Extra tip: check the blue checkmarks for maximum control.
This is the only way, as a manager, to be sure that your people are not taking advantage. Trust is good, but control is better. Much better. So make sure your people stay productive while on vacation. The work-life balance is a beautiful thing, but only if the balance turns to work. And of course you, as a control freak manager, take care of that! 🛑
We earlier wrote an article about burnout during covid or work from home, and we believe taking leave is an important moment to recharge your teams' batteries. At Beema we ask our employees to not check in on their work. We want them to explore, go for that Yoga retreat or camping holiday, have a personal life, and we believe that this approach will give us a naturally more motivated team. If, as a manager, you feel the need of doing any of the things listed above, think twice. Did you hire the right people? Or more importantly; are you the right manager for the job?
Beema has a 100% remote working policy because our teams are spread all over the world, so as a manager it's more difficult to really feel what's going on in their personal lives. No matter how hard you try with Slack messages, Zoom one-on-ones, weekly check-ins, quarterly town halls, and all the efforts by our amazing HR team, it'll always be different than seeing someone at the coffee machine. The most important factor to enable your team to mentally check out from work during their leave is trust. If you're giving your best to your team, your team will naturally value this and return the same. So give them a break, let go of your (control) fears. Wish them a nice holiday at home in the UAE, in Italy, or the Maldives and a 'see you in three weeks!'.
For now, from the Beema team to everyone taking a well-deserved summer break; have a great time! ☀️