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Linked – Mental Health At Work: How To Dodge OOO Anxiety

The post below has a bunch of things worth thinking about, but the big question is whether your culture truly encourages people to take time off and recharge or if it’s only the words that match that.

Do your people take time to disconnect, or does taking PTO just raise their anxiety level?

“Many employees experience what’s known as out-of-office anxiety. They have a hard time totally disconnecting from work for several reasons, including:

  • Feeling guilty for leaving coworkers to pick up the slack
  • Worrying about the workload that will be waiting for them when they get back
  • Fearing that being away will make them seem replaceable
  • Fearing that asking for time off will get them fired”

I don’t know too many places where that last bullet is an obvious problem that seems more toxic than most bosses want it to appear to be, but do your actions make it toxic anyway? As a leader, do you set an example that says the company supports taking time and being disconnected? Or do you reply to emails and even drop in for a remote meeting while you’re supposed to be on PTO?

More importantly, consider what you communicate in your actions when someone does take PTO. Does everyone on the team email them while they are out so they can get a response as soon as they are back? Do you cram in a bunch of meetings or work they need to do before leaving?

Do you think this helps them feel less stressed?

It’s much more likely that they’ll take PTO but not get any benefits from being away from work. That’s missing the point entirely.

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