Is it time to take control of your leave?

Is it time to take control of your leave?

Tired of working when you should be resting, playing or spending time with family and friends?

When was the last time you kicked back and did nothing? Actually nothing?

Since mining is a production-focused industry, it means that for most employees, interruptions from work emails, calls and meetings at head office during R&R and weekends are inevitable. We now carry our office in our pocket. That incessant little beep, or buzz, when a new email arrives generates a feeling that for some is as bad as an alarm on a Monday morning. 

Even for those not in a management or supervisory role, there is an umbilical cord-like attachment to what is going on onsite. But regardless of salary, position or responsibilities, it is important that every employee takes not just a physical break, but also a mental break from their role.

The benefits are well-documented on countless websites  and in articles. And it isn’t just an annual holiday, but short breaks during the day also offer significant health and mental wellbeing benefits. 

How can you ensure your time is yours, if not for every R&R, then at least some of the time?

Empower, develop and train your team. A Maintenance Manager once said to me their greatest achievement at work was being offsite during shutdowns. Initially I was taken aback, but he went on to explain that it meant he had developed and empowered his team to function effectively in his absence, and he should not be involved in the current shutdown, but be planning the one in 12 months.

Prioritise and don’t rush the handover to your back-to-back. While for some rosters, handovers are done at the airport, for others there is a day or two before the other person flies out.

If your team anticipate emails will be replied to while you are away, then let them know you will only be reviewing at certain times while on leave. Add an ‘out of office’ message to remind the sender you are on leave, and when they can anticipate a reply.

Maybe it’s time to leave your laptop at work?

Manage your home environment. Leave your laptop onsite. Or at the very least out of sight, while at home. Turn off the email alerts on your phone, or only turn it on once or twice to check messages. Have a workspace or home office and only work in that space. This ensures that your home life has a distinct separation from work. 

Prioritise when you will work from home. There will be times when a report is due and the deadline is while you are away. Accept that this is an exception, rather than the norm, and allocate time to complete it.

For most of us, it is possible to put boundaries in place between work and home. Keeping them as separate as possible is healthy for you and your relationships and ensures when you are at work, you are able to commit to the task at hand.

As this article by Dr Marny Lishman explains though, your work does not define who you are.  I particularly like the comment, “So the next time someone asks you what you do.

Try telling them something other than your job, because after all, you are so much more.”

If work is taking over your life when on R&R, maybe it’s time for a change? Give me a call if you’d like some career guidance.

Gail Rogers
Senior Consultant - Candidate Services & HR Consulting
Mining People International

Gail worked in operational and technical mine site roles for 15 years and has been with MPi since 2002 in mining recruitment and executive search and eventually mining career guidance and human resources advisory positions. Gail’s 15 years directly in the mining industry, across residential, FIFO and CBD based roles, has given her a unique perspective into the industry.