They call it a “workation” – based on work plus vacation – but it’s not a word we much care for, so this is the penultimate time we’ll use it. In fact, we don’t need a word for it. Instead, we’ll call it working-on-holiday or, for short, WOH. It’s something more of us appear to be doing than ever before.

In the past, many of us were happy to receive an occasional phone call or send a quick email while on holiday. We’d think nothing of it. But today working on holiday has become a different exercise. It’s become big business for the tourist sector too. Just search the web, and you will find numerous travel agents offering to sell you a “dream workation” that won’t affect your employee holiday. But is working on holiday such a great idea? Does it genuinely offer a better work-life balance, or does it mean your work is compromised and your holiday fails to satisfy you because of the extra stress you are under from work?

Remote working kick-started working-on-holiday

Many of us were initially forced into remote working by the pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns. While today hoards of office workers are heading back to their desks, most of them are still working from home at least one or two days a week. Few office workers would be happy to return to our pre-pandemic office working patterns. And those that have returned to the office have adopted different work ethics, such as ditching de rigour formal work attire.

Working remotely is now so firmly entrenched in our collective psyche that we may never return to full-time office working.

Working from anywhere

With many people working remotely, initially working from home and rarely visiting the office, it wasn’t long before they realised that they could work from anywhere. As long as they had a laptop and access to the internet, they could work just as well in Melbourne, Bangkok, Prague or Budapest. So why not travel to exotic places you have always dreamt of visiting and work from there? There is still ample time to make the most of your new location out of working hours. It’s the opposite of a staycation – rather than taking time off work to holiday locally, you work full time while spending time in your holiday location. And, of course, the additional advantage of not having to enter it in your holiday planner.

Ideal – so what could be the problem?

One potential downside is the cost. While travel agents are encouraging the practice of working-on-holiday, for the traveller it means spending significant sums of money travelling to exotic destinations along with accommodation costs just to spend the best part of the day working. And it’s not only the travel companies muscling in on the trend. Some businesses offer working-on-holiday tourists accommodation and workspaces on the beachfront, including superfast broadband connectivity.

Another downside is the potential effect on your work-life balance. The working trip on its own requires considerable juggling. Keeping your mind focussed on the job and away from the beach requires significant willpower, and if partying is part of your typical holiday scene, curtailing it to mesh with your work commitments might prove too much to handle. So what you might consider as the best of both worlds could soon turn into the worst of both.

Then there is your boss’s and colleagues’ perspective. How can you convince your colleagues back home that you remain committed to the job and work as hard as usual? Any errors you might make will surely encourage criticism of your current lifestyle. You can almost hear them grumbling that they always said that work and play don’t mix. So when you finally return home, will you feel satisfied, or will you also feel a little guilt?

Travel broadens the mind

Rather than ending on a downer, there are also upsides to working-on-holiday. As they say, travel broadens the mind. As Mark Twain put it more eloquently:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

The mind-broadening experience of visiting far-flung places can transpose into new insights that inspire your work. Thus you can work harder, smarter, and more productively, with no need to make an entry in the online holiday planner.

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When moving into an employee management role, everybody, and if not everybody then at least most of us, make mistakes, sometimes glaring mistakes that come back to haunt us. However, mistakes are there to learn from, and anyone who wants to become a good and possibly highly regarded people manager will strive to learn from them. Here we provide a few tips that if you take on board should help you achieve your goals and become the best people manager you can be.

1. Be truthful and honest

Nobody wants a liar as their manager. Deceiving your employees or being less than honest will demotivate them and make them feel insecure. Keeping them informed of any changes that may affect them, and answering their worries and concerns honestly, will make them feel valued and a respected member of the team.

2. Be positive

Both positivity and negativity are highly infections in any work environment. As a people manager, you should focus on the positive side of the coin. This applies even if you disagree with what’s coming down from above. That isn’t to say that you should break the honesty rule stated above but always focus on the plus side. Never forget that you are the boss.

3. Avoid micromanaging

Team members will appreciate being allowed to get on with the job without too much interference from the boss. Unfortunately, some managers can’t help but get involved in the detail, which frustrates the staff and leads to resentment. The more responsibility you give them, the harder they will work. Try to encourage them to care about what the business aims to achieve.

4. Be brave and learn to delegate

Delegating is both an art and a science and is much more complicated than you think. As you carry the can for others’ mistakes, the tendency is to hang on to the reins. Instead, trust your team to make decisions for themselves and provide adequate support. It’s a matter of finding the right balance – you will find you get better at it with practice.

5. Give praise where praise is due

A good people manager praises his team when things go right and takes personal responsibility when things go wrong. So always be generous with praise when praise is due and supportive when things go wrong. That’s not to say that you should avoid criticism, but do it discreetly, privately, and positively when you need to criticise.

6. Absorb the pressure

When you are under pressure from above to achieve project goals, try to absorb that pressure rather than pass it on to the team. Of course, you should inform them of the situation and encourage them to make an extra effort but do it with kindness and encouragement rather than cracking the whip.

7. Don’t overwork your team

They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and while this is to an extent true, it can result in overwork, decreased productivity and potentially burnout. Knowing when somebody is working too much can be challenging to spot, but always encourage your staff to take time off when they need it and always take their allocated leave allowance. Leave management is an essential facet of managing people.

8. Develop a feedback culture

Feedback is crucial in any well-managed team. Good managers develop a feedback culture in which everyone is equipped to give and receive feedback to their colleagues and bosses, including you. Honest feedback is a great way to develop as a team and for you to grow as a people manager.

9. Know something about everyone

One of the best people managers the author has come across made sure that he knew the name and something about every employee who worked for him – over two hundred people. He worked hard on it, and it paid off. We all liked him, relished his visits, and were determined to work a little bit harder for him.

10. Be your best

Why not, every morning, decide that today you will be the very best version of yourself? Make that promise to yourself and keep it. The positivity you will create will not only make you feel so much better about yourself, but it will also rub off on the members of your team.

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In this article, we look at the concept of limited employee availability. Of course, we all instinctively know that times occur when we might well have some free time to work remotely on a project or times when we are mostly unavailable but might be able to contribute with an opinion or a small task here and there. When team members are working remotely, there’s a need to share such status or information in a way that will help improve overall productivity and keep others informed.

What is limited employee availability?

Are you available on Tuesday afternoon to work on an important project? Is your time already booked, or are you on leave? Most leave planners allow you to input such information easily, so your colleagues at other locations know in advance if you are free. But often, such a binary statement misses many of the subtleties of working and especially in remote working. For example, while you might anticipate being busy on Tuesday, you also know that you could easily spare some time to contribute to a significant project that really could benefit from your input. Or perhaps you might become unexpectedly free for some hours during the week, and you need to alert the rest of the remote team regarding your unexpected availability. This works both ways, either you are free for more work or you’ve suddenly become busy with important work but not to an extent where you’re not available at all.

In other words, you need a third option to the binary free or occupied situation, and it’s what we at LeaveWizard refer to as “Limited Employee Availability”. This is especially when your team is distributed and perhaps even working asynchronously with varying work patterns and in different time zones.

When might you have limited availability?

There are several scenarios when you might have limited availability to work on a task or just help. Usually, if your current workload occupies just 80% of your working time, you could say that you have up to 20% of your time to work on an additional project. Thus, you can announce that you have limited availability of 20% of your usual workweek as limited availability. But, of course, if your top priority occupies just 20% of your work time, then you could consider that you have 80% time of limited availability.

Another way you might have limited availability is if you seek to work additional hours, for instance, paid overtime or if you want to build up time in lieu (TOIL) to take some time off work sometime in the future. Of course, this would need an agreement with your management team, but many modern firms that embrace flexible working would consider this approach acceptable and might even encourage it. Of course, there must be rules and safeguards, but there shouldn’t be too many problems if you take a sensible approach.

A third scenario in which you might have limited availability is if you are involved with work-related activities such as a training course. For example, should training occupy just 60% of your working day, you could express your availability in terms of 40% limited availability.

Yet another situation is when you don’t know what your commitments might be in the coming days. Depending on circumstances, you might be needed on a project, or you might be free. In such a situation, you can’t express how much availability you might have, but you think it is likely to be limited. Again, you can indicate this on the LeaveWizard leave and absence management application as having limited availability.

Utilising team members workers with limited availability

Suppose you are managing a project and have sight of all team members’ calendars, including those working remotely. In that case, you can readily see which individuals have limited availability that you could utilise to advance your project goals. It is then a simple matter to contact them for more information on their ability to contribute to a specific task and include them in your work plan.

Essentially, this is an extra help that, without the ability to express limited employee availability, would not be readily accessible. Limited employee availability is a valuable tool on which many businesses miss out.

We all love something that is free. Even if we don’t really know what it is, the fact that it is free makes us want it even more. It could be something as random as a household gadget the local supermarket is giving away, or a free dessert on your birthday from your favourite local restaurant. The point is, it’s free and we want it, so in our mind, it has value.

But does it really have any value? Typically if someone is giving away something for free, it means that they either don’t want it anymore because it is broken, or that is has such little value that it doesn’t matter if they give away a thousand of them.

Is that true about every free offer? I mean, there has to be something that is both free and has value, right? From time to time, you just might happen upon a free offer that does provide you with a service that can be useful to your business. Unfortunately, the free trial isn’t the full version of their service so you never really get to experience all they have to offer. This is where our misconception about free things lies. What others see as valuable, we might not see the same way.

The Best Freebie Of All

While many freebies that we find in today’s world, really aren’t free at all and they offer little to no actual value, there is something that is free and that can change the way you do business. It’s a freebie that is worth thousands and it is only from LeaveWizard.

For a limited time, LeaveWizard is offering a free trial of our exclusive enterprise-level leave and absence management platform. This free trial can make a difference in the daily operations of your small to medium or enterprise level business and help to streamline your leave and absence process. In fact, our free trial of the LeaveWizard enterprise-level leave and absence management platform has shown its worth to business owners throughout the UK and they have all signed up for our paid service.

Contact LeaveWizard

To learn more about the LeaveWizard enterprise-level leave and absence management platform, contact LeaveWizard today and see how our innovative platform can save your company or organisation time and money.

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In recent months we’ve seen a huge increase in the popularity of tools that help distributed teams work together. The team behind LeaveWizard has always been distributed and we make use of various tools one of which is Slack.  For a while now we have been using a LeaveWizard/Slack integration and since we are now convinced that it is working well it is time to share it with our customers so you too can benefit from it if you’re using Slack.

To integrate your LeaveWizard with Slack you will need to use Google Calendar. If you don’t use Google Calendar for your business you can still get a free personal Google account and integrate its calendar with LeaveWizard just for the purpose of getting your LeaveWizard/Slack integration working.

Step 1 – get LeaveWizard integrated with Google Calendar. You need to be a LeaveWizard ‘Admin’ to do this. This is a feature we’ve had at LeaveWizard since the early days and we have a detailed article on how to get this integration working. Just follow the steps in our guide for External Calendar Integration and look up the Google Integration section.

Step 2 – Integrated your Slack with Google calendar using the Google Calendar for Team events Slack app. You need to be a Slack admin in order to do this. Just follow the steps in the Google Calendar for Team events guide and at the end of it, you will have integrated Slack with your Google Calendar.

When you’ve completed the two steps above and you have events in your Google Calendar then the integration will kick in at the specified time in your Slack configuration and you will get notified of events on a daily basis. See the screenshot from our actual Slack channel below.

We hope you find this guide useful. If you have any questions please leave a comment or contact us via our support portal

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