The holiday season is fast approaching! In Australia and New Zealand, the period from Christmas to the end of January – or, more specifically in Australia, the Australia Day long weekend (26 January) – is the quietest time of year. January is the equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere, where in mid summer, most people want to take some time off.
When talking about holidays, I always follow the best advice and take as much of my allocated annual leave in the year in which it's been accrued. Holidays are not a luxury; they are essential to your health as a human being and your general well-being. During my time in the UK, the policy was that you either took your leave or you lost it. I am very much a fan of this policy! Not only does it help the look of the people2people balance sheet (that's the old accountant in me coming out), but it encourages people to take their holidays and, as such, recharge their batteries. So don't be reluctant to take a holiday. Think of it as a way for you to improve your productivity, not as a sign that you don't have a work ethic!
So what about the timing of a holiday? This is tricky. It really depends on the business cycles within the industry to which you belong. In the recruitment industry, the classic summer holiday is best, but if you were working in hospitality in North Queensland, for example, then this would probably be the worst of times. In choosing your timing, make sure you have a discussion with your manager about when is best.
Keeping a holiday a secret is a definite a 'no no', and I have written previously about having undisclosed holidays, particularly when in the midst of changing jobs. Your manager wants to get the best out of their people, and the best managers recognise a regular holiday is part of the package. So the best holiday is one that is planned in advance and communicated with your manager. A final comment on holidays: enjoy them, and forget about work.
The world still turns even when your mobile phone and email are not accessible. ...Actually, I should probably follow my own advice on that point!