The cucumber season is awaiting us again. The period during the summer when everything calms down, also at work. The strange thing is that we all have to be like very busy before we can enter the cucumber season. Ever since the beginning of my career, I have been constantly amazed by this.


Before a holiday period, it always seems like the world doesn’t exist anymore after is, be it before Christmas or the summer. That we have to get all work done and out of the way – while we might as well just pick it up again two or three weeks later. What makes us think that the holiday is an incision through which there is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ while things just continue, albeit with a short pause button?


In fact, for many, the world is still spinning even with the pause button on. Mails are read and answered. Everything is tracked online. Just like not being on vacation. Sometimes the out-of-office isn’t even turned on during the holidays. In that regard, technological advancement has also derived us from every opportunity to be disconnected from work during holidays.


But technology isn’t the only culprit in that regard. We participate in this, at least if we allow it. Being always available is the new norm – and going offline takes guts. What do we take a vacation for if we are still working? If we still follow everything that is going on at work and above all think we have to follow?


Give yourself an offline vacation

In our era, it still feels quite daring to just leave your work phone at home during the holidays. In fact, many people only have one phone, which means that work always comes along automatically, even if you are on vacation. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) comes into play, and at the same time a feeling of ‘others expect me to sometimes respond to emails’.


The result is that it takes longer before you really ‘arrive’ on holiday. Often two or even three weeks are far too short to really unwind and relax. Before you know it, you’re actually back to work. And within a week, that little bit of relaxation is forgotten for good. This doesn’t seem right, does it? Therefore, give yourself an ‘offline’ holiday where you are not available online or at most to a limited extent.


How do you go offline?


Completely offline

Ideally, you should switch off your work phone on the last working day before your holiday and only switch it on again on the first day after that. Difficult, I know, and I don’t take that step myself, but this seems like the ultimate dream. Out of sight, out of reach – wonderful. Do this especially if you know that no one is waiting for your reactions and if you know that everything can go on as planned while you are away. However, be sure to let those know you work with you.


Mostly offline

Mostly offline means that you are actually only online for 15 to 30 minutes a day to read emails, answer them or make phone calls. Choose a fixed time per day for this. A fixed time slot gives you and the people you work with clarity. The following also applies to this: let the other persons know when you are available and when not.


A distinction in the urgency of emails

If you choose this option, people with whom you work will indicate the urgency in the email itself. A ‘cc’ mail has a different status than a ‘to’ or a mail with an exclamation mark. Here you clearly know which mail to read when, right? How nice is it that someone else assigns priorities to e-mails and you don’t have to do this yourself during your holiday.


I myself use a mix of ‘mostly offline’ on my business telephone and ‘distinction in urgency’. If there are e-mails where the urgency is high but this cannot be made known in the e-mail, I will receive an app or text message. The majority of my contacts know what they can expect when I am on vacation. They know that I am available for urgent matters and that gives the necessary peace of mind.


I hope this is of some use to you and that you can determine a strategy for yourself to enjoy your holiday to the fullest.