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What you should and shouldn’t do when taking annual leave

Annual leave is a precious privilege. Even if we love what we do, the thought of dipping our toes in the Mediterranean with the sun on the backs or climbing Mount Snowdon with the wind blowing our hair can help us get through a January that is dreary. For our mental health, holidays and rest are important for our vitality as well as our productivity.

“Annual Leave is an important component of a larger picture of looking after life-work balance, and of creating positive work culture,” says Anni, Leadership Partners – and notice how she refers to it as ‘life-work balanced’ instead of ‘work-life balance.

This blog will show you how to make the most of your off-office time. It also shows how to manage your team’s calendar to ensure fairness in annual leave.


Many people find 2023 to be a difficult year financially. But make sure you have a vacation even if it isn’t possible.

1. Spread your breaks over 12 months

“Just one day in life.” It would be, that would be great’ Madonna sang in 1983’s ‘Holiday’. She was right about how one day of vacation can make all the difference. It’s great to get away from the everyday grind in a random month such as November when everyone else is busy giving 110% at work. Do not try to squeeze all of your annual leave into the summer.

2. Start planning your January holidays


Why? It’s easy to get the dates and best prices.

3. Don’t brag about your Barbados boutique hotel excessively

We will wish you a pleasant holiday if you are a friendly guy or popular person at your job who adheres to office protocol and does not make unreasonable demands. We may think you are worthy of it, and we appreciate you working from home on Thursdays or Fridays. But don’t push it. We can only take so many photos of Silver Sands.


4. Make the most of Easter!

It can lead to forgetting about the possibility of tagging annual leave onto the Easter bank holidays. The 4 day Easter weekend 2023 will be held from 7-10 April. Spring can be a wonderful time to Explore Britain.

European city breaks are possible in April, with less heat and fewer people. With my kids and on cheap flights, I was able to fly to Rome on Easter Sunday. It was perfect for walking out on the Piazza del Popolo. The visitor attractions were reopened on Easter Monday.

Bank holidays aside, note that there will be an additional Bank Holiday in 2023 on 8 May 2023 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII.

5. Half-terms are not for you

Real Business places annual leave disputes in the Top Ten of Workplace Conflict. It can be difficult when multiple team members have children of school age and want to take October and May half terms off, or fight for the right the last week of July as annual leave.


Be fair and listen to your colleagues. If an employee has missed their preferred dates, it is possible for a manager to divert from the first-come, first-served method of booking annual leave. Don’t underestimate how important employees place on having the opportunity to vacation on their preferred dates if you are a leader of a team.

Have you noticed how much more affordable it is to travel overseas for summer holidays than it is at the end July? This is still school holidays, and I believe it is a great choice for families. Take a look at European campsite and flight prices.

6. Take a break and travel somewhere else

You can shake it up. Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire next year is a great alternative to Devon’s English Riviera. You can swap the villa in Provence to a yurt located in Colorado. Your Nana advised that a change is better than a rest.

Find a new hobby and stretch your muscles. You might discover a new passion for archery, wild swimming, night sky photography, coasteering, or wild archery. Your mental health is greatly improved by exercising. I enjoyed browsing the Workaway opportunities for a short but adventurous working holiday in Ireland or Portugal, without spending a lot of money. Do you want to tend ponies and goats in County Kildare?

Another option – and a viable choice — would be the new OBB nightjet trains. You can travel overnight by comfortable, climate-friendly train to beautiful locations such as Venice and Munich.

7. If you are self-employed, make sure to plan for a break.


If you are self-employed, you should also commit to taking annual leave. Holiday is part of taking care yourself and avoiding burnout. To help you balance finances, client expectations, and collaborate on projects, plan your time out of the office months in advance.

8. Try to get one day per year without kids

What makes your heart beat faster and your smile brighten? You can take a day off to see the band you love, or enjoy the legendary tapas at Copita Soho with other adults. Take a day off if you have children and there is childcare available but not the Disney Frozen Sing Along speaker.

However, I am not a fan of parents who keep their children in a holiday club at a hotel all day. But maybe that’s because my husband is a one-man entertainment-station, ex-primary school teacher and willing all-day frisbee player and sandcastle builder. Each to their own.

9. Avoid taking annual leave during peak times for your company

Both sides can give and take.

10. Consider whether you are most in need of relaxation or invigoration while on holiday.

If you’re just a little bit knackered, my previous suggestion of goat-herding is something I can completely reject. You can choose to relax if your job or lifestyle is hectic.

11. Avoid overspending on holiday if you worry about your well-being.

If you have blown your budget and are worried about the repayments, a costly holiday can be counterproductive.

12. Put your out-of office on


Your job might be more important than mine. You won’t be able to understand me telling you that while on vacation, you must not check your work email. Your brain and spirit will greatly appreciate a break from sales targets and patient treatment targets.

Delegate – Give your colleague the authority to manage the business while you are away.

Andre Spicer, a writer at The Guardian, suggests that “working on vacation is a defense mechanism”. According to Spicer, ‘By hiding our work, it is possible to ignore personal relationships and family dynamics, as well as our own feelings. This helps us to avoid the worrying prospect of not having a normal life.

How do you deal with your post-holiday emails? Some companies are concerned about inbox overflow and have created a setting that will delete all emails sent to you while on vacation. This is quite radical! They created an OOO message like “Dear sender.” Your email was immediately deleted. I am on vacation until x. Your email may still be relevant upon my return. Could you please resend it after x date? Thank you for your understanding.”

13. Do not set unrealistic expectations for family harmony during holiday.

You may find that you are more comfortable with your regular work schedule than being on holiday with your family. Annual leave is not always easy.

Although squabbles and other unpleasant things don’t make the Jet2Holidays ads, you won’t be the only one if tensions arise over the car that was towable on your first night in Sardinia (yes that one is mine) or about the football that smashed the caravan window of the next-door (again mine).

You might even enjoy the chance to watch your partner win the Best Hawaiian Shirt’ contest at the resort, and your stepdaughter take her first steps on the nursery slopes. It was a great moment for me to see my entire family sitting together on the Cromer seawall at sunset, eating vinegary fish and chips.

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