It’s easy to spot the ‘I’ve just got back from a two-week holiday in paradise’ colleague in your office. They shout ‘hello’ at each peer as if they’re long lost friends, they have a healthy glow because they’ve actually been outside, but more importantly they’re bursting with energy and positive vibes.
They listen sympathetically as you recount the endless tales of woe that have taken place in their absence yet their smile fails to fade. Even when you deliver your killer ‘we missed our project deadline’ or ‘15 members of staff walked out’ line – still, there is no reaction. Because for the first 24 to 48 hours after your co-worker returns from their trip, nothing can touch them. They have the air of someone who has seen another world – a place where desks don’t exist and disgruntled employees have never been heard of. Unlike our grey, stooped figures, they have been ‘holidayed’ and the rest of us can only look on with envy.
Annual leave is there for a reason. Getting away reinvigorates employees, gives them time to reflect, freshen up and refocus. It’s no surprise then that many people make life-changing decisions when they are enjoying time out because it’s one of the few times in life you can think freely. My decision to move to Dubai came during a long break from a job I adored. It was only with time to reflect that I realised that yes, I was having fun, but I was pushing myself to the limit with long hours and constant travel mixed in with the hectic social whirl of living in London.
But it’s not just big decisions that can be made during a bout of holiday fever – it’s also realising the daily grind isn’t such a grind after all. Distance from the workplace provides a chance to view the office from a fresh perspective. You realise difficult colleagues actually have a point; incompetent staff can be trained and your work/life balance really can be evened out. And in the grander scale of things, none of those tiny niggles that irritate you on a daily basis – such as the incessant 24 ring tone of your desk buddy or that incompetent admin guy who never delivers your mail – really matter.
So how can we hold onto that holiday buzz for longer? Feeling energised enough to deal with any crisis your job throws at you is difficult to sustain day in, day out. And the happy vibes you exude when you first step back into your working shoes never seems to last long enough. That same colleague who bounced into work on a Sunday is wearing a grimace by Wednesday, worn down by the daily stresses of work and moaning that their holiday feels like a long time ago.
Perhaps we need to space our breaks throughout the year rather than taking the UAE’s traditional month off over the summer. Or maybe we just need to feed off our holiday-energised colleagues as they bounce back into the office. After all, a little bit of holiday fever can be infectious.
Why we all need to catch that holiday fever