Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Happy Holidays

It’s the middle of the school holidays, and everyone is away on holiday. My husband and eldest daughter are at a church youth camp. My middle daughter is at Brownie camp. My contact at our printer’s, account manager at the stationer’s, and the director at the treatment centre I am trying to arrange a bed at, are all on holiday. As are half the LawCare volunteers and a good number of the counsellors. It’s all most inconvenient!

Actually, I don’t begrudge them a moment of it. After all, I had a wonderful week at my favourite beachfront hotel on the north coast of Majorca last year, and am looking forward to a peaceful and relaxing stay with friends in Wales next week. Holidays are important. A news programme recently interviewed several people in a luxury resort somewhere about the rising cost of holidaying, given the escalation of fuel and food prices. Would they be forgoing their foreign holidays in future? The overwhelming answer was No. Whatever the cost, a holiday was a priority. One man explained “It’s what I work all year for.”

We regularly get stressed and overworked lawyers calling our helpline who have not had a holiday in several years. We have several pieces of advice with regard to taking holidays:

  • Be sure to take your whole holiday entitlement.
  • Tell everyone that you are out of the country – backpacking in Belize or somewhere equally incommunicado – even if you are just painting the spare bedroom.
  • Screen calls and switch off your mobile. DON’T answer calls from the office.
  • Preparation is vital – you won’t relax if you know you’re going to be coming back to a huge pile of work. Assign someone else – or better still, several people – to deal with matters in your absence. Ensure clients know that you are going away, and who they should ask for in your absence.
  • Set your office voicemail to answer, but not to take messages, giving a call-back date which is actually a day or two after your return, so that you are not inundated with phone calls the day you come back.
  • Switching on your Out of Office Reply on your email can invite spam unless you have a very good spam filter. Instead, set up a forward to a colleague or your secretary, and have that person send a standard reply to all genuine enquiries asking them to contact you on your return.
  • Once on holiday, don’t fill every moment. Make sure that for every day you are visiting the sights or enjoying the theme parks you have a day just relaxing round the pool or strolling round the shops. If you insist on trying to pack too much in to your week away you will return to work needing another holiday to get over the first one.

Have a great time!

LawCare’s free and confidential helpline is available 9-7.30 Monday-Friday, 10-4 weekends, on:
0800 279 6888 (Solicitors, Law Students and Legal Executives in England and Wales)
0800 279 6869 (Solicitors, Advocates and Law Students in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man)
0800 018 4299 (Barristers, Barristers Clerks and Judges in England and Wales)
1800 991801 (Solicitors in the Republic of Ireland)
1800 313145 (Barristers in the Republic of Ireland)

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