DURBAN – With more people working from home and with no clear indication on when the lockdown will be lifted, fewer people are taking their annual leave, a trend which occupational therapists are cautioning against.
“Employees who are working from home may also not see a need to go on leave, as new flexible work arrangements may mean that they can complete both their work and home responsibilities,”
“Unfortunately this is not the case because this can lead to mental illness, exhaustion and burnout should be a concern for companies. For this reason, they should encourage employees to use their leave days even when self-isolating,” said Ashley Ramsoonder, occupational therapists at Alexander Forbes Health Management Solutions.
Research suggests that the pandemic has also meant a complete upheaval of routine, which will continue for some time and can affect emotional well-being. Further, many people’s jobs are in jeopardy, while the pressure to remain productive in the workplace and to develop our skills is mounting.
“Burnout is when you lose all motivation and enthusiasm for your work and you feel high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, overwhelm or even hopelessness or dread. We are all of us susceptible to burnout and there are a number of contributing factors, some of which are quite relevant at this time of social isolation and lockdown, said Jivan Dempsey, a psychologist and life coach.
Tips to distance yourself from work when you go on leave:
- Switch off smartphones and computers.
- Inform all relevant people that you are on leave and not available unless in an emergency.
- Put your out-of-office reply on with the start and end date of your leave and who to contact in your absence.
- Do not forward your calls to your cell phone.
- Do a thorough handover so you are free to relax without thinking about incomplete work tasks.
- Separate your work and relaxation area. Pack your work tools such as a laptop away for the duration of your leave.
- Develop a new routine for your leave, such as waking up earlier and going for a run or not setting an alarm and sleeping in.
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