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  • Writer's pictureAlannah Filip

Taking your holiday seriously

The concept of taking a holiday has often taken a back seat in work. Some individuals still grapple with the idea of taking time off, fearing it may be perceived as slacking. So not everyone uses their full quota of annual leave. We also see that the demands of modern work culture sometimes make it seem that leaving your desk is synonymous with leaving your responsibilities, whether this is by taking leave or by working remotely. All of this can lead to a reluctance to step away from an office desk.

A British Airways Holidays campaign, 'Take Your Holiday Seriously', was shared at the beginning of the year. It is a timely reminder that holidays are more than just an escape; they're a vital component of our overall well-being. We therefore need to encourage people to take their full annual leave, disconnecting from work.

For people who love to travel and want to travel outside the bounds of their annual leave, there are also benefits to policies such as working abroad. Workers are rested and restored by using their annual leave, and working abroad can have great effects on other aspects of people's work.

Redefining work-life balance

Pre-pandemic, work and leisure were like two separate islands, the line dividing them was as clear as the shoreline on a sunny day.

Then, the pandemic stormed into our lives, caging our wanderlust and making planned holidays a distant fantasy. Yet amidst the upheaval, a new twist emerged – the dawn of remote working. It has risen as a transformative force, challenging the traditional norms of productivity and dismantling the rigid boundaries of the 9-to-5 grind.

Soon I discovered a whole new dimension of professional liberation, where not only was I able to use my annual leave to go abroad but I could also use working abroad practices alongside or in conjunction with it.

The antidote to burnout

Blurred lines between working at home and in the office can lead to the absence of lunch breaks and the endless stream of back-to-back meetings. All of which can be prime contributors to the brain's arch-nemesis – burnout.

Psychologists have long emphasised the importance of taking breaks to boost productivity and idea generation. By stepping away from your desk and immersing yourself in a change of scenery, you have the power to synchronise your work with your brain's natural rhythms, allowing the much-needed opportunity to reset and rejuvenate.

This can be done by using all of your annual leave and completely disconnecting from work. If you are working abroad, this can also be done by strolling around ancient streets or a sunny beach on your lunch break. 

Working abroad - The ultimate work boost

Being able to work abroad has been like hitting the "refresh" button on my passion for travel. Our brains love novelty, and when you take your work to a different location, you're giving your brain a jolt of inspiration. The shift in surroundings, and the break from the usual routine all contribute to a surge in dopamine levels. This "feel-good" neurotransmitter enhances your mood and motivation, making your work both productive and enjoyable.

It's not about abandoning your work as presenteeism might suggest; it's about injecting fresh energy into it. Your work quality remains top-notch, but your surroundings become the muse for your productivity.

Demonstrating trust and commitment if working abroad

Venturing to work abroad can carry a more profound message than you might think – one of trust and dedication. It's a way of affirming your commitment to your role, regardless of location - a testament to your work ethic. You're saying, "I've got this, no matter where I am".

When your employer supports and trusts your endeavours, it cultivates a sense of autonomy and psychological safety. This translates into a workplace culture where you feel empowered and secure, further fuelling your dedication and motivation.

Here's how you can make the most of it and demonstrate your reliability:

  1. Effective Communication: Embrace technology to stay in touch with colleagues and clients. Video calls, instant messaging, and project management tools allow you to collaborate seamlessly, no matter where you are.

  2. Clear Boundaries: Set clear boundaries between work and leisure time. Establishing specific working hours and allocating dedicated time for relaxation ensures you can be fully present in both aspects of your life.

  3. Self-Care: Use your remote working breaks to engage in self-care activities that recharge your energy and boost your well-being. This could include exploring new surroundings, pursuing hobbies, or simply taking a well-deserved nap.


If you share my passion for travel then you know that annual leave allows us to reset and be inspired. Not done travelling once you have used your annual leave? We can also extend our travel with working abroad if we want to. Working abroad can be a breath of fresh air for your professional life. With the right tools and mindset, you can maintain your work commitments, embrace the full potential of working remotely and foster a sense of adventure and professional growth. Your productivity is not measured by the time that you spend at the office.

Remember, taking your full annual leave to recharge is not a sign of weakness or laziness, it's a sign of wisdom and self-care. Take the holiday that you are owed or consider working remotely, combining work and leisure for a slightly longer break.

So, pack your bags, explore new horizons and let your work thrive in the most unexpected places.

Bon voyage!

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