AWAY Is a Perfectly Acceptable 4-Letter Word

At Messina Group Staffing, my team and I match talented recruits with fast-paced careers in engineering, architecture, lab sciences and finance. Yet it can be all too easy to let these enticing professional opportunities sweep us away – and to lose our joy in the process.

After all, the next great breakthrough or promotion always beckons. It’s a pain to take time off, and to catch up after a vacation. Before we know it, our work-life blend is wildly off-kilter!

With summertime vacation season winding down, it’s important to remember that unplugging is still important – and that “AWAY” can be a perfectly acceptable four-letter word. In fact, it’s one of my five favorite tips for finding a positive work-life blend. Have a look.

AWAY

Taking time away from work, even briefly, allows us to disconnect and recharge. But the pressure of being “away” can sometimes be daunting. Financial obligations, work-based pressure or the planning of a major trip often stir up stress instead of the relaxation we seek.

Enter the micro-cation: beloved by Millenials and arguably a more balanced way to take a break, this summer's biggest travel trend can carry us right into cooler weather. Instead of planning a lengthier trip once a year, treat yourself to a quick break every few months. Travel and Leisure recommends these two-, three- or four-night getaways as one of the best ways to get the most out of your paid time off.

Psychology experts agree – Timothy Bono, PhD, cites brief, focused time away as a great strategy for making the most of our relationships. “The single strongest predictor of our happiness is the strength of our connections to other people,” he says.

WELL

Do your job well, but treat yourself well, too. And yes, you can do both.

At the start of this summer, a company president wrote a viral post on LinkedIn – so viral, in fact, that it made national news. The basic premise? Do your job well, make the right decisions and don’t tell me any more about it: I trust you. He wrote, in part:

“I never need to know you’ll be in late because of a dentist appointment. Or that you’re leaving early for your kid’s soccer game. I never need to know why you can’t travel on a Sunday. I never need to know why you don’t want to have dinner with me when I’m in your town on a Tuesday night.”

So manage professional commitments, but take the yoga class, too. You deserve it.

BURN

When we think about work, “burn” usually has a negative connotation – “burning the midnight oil” and “burning out” come to mind. But like the satisfying burn of a good workout, managing your professional energy with focus and intention can help define the work-life blend that suits you best.

In fact, writer Soulaima Gourani suggests that breaking the nine-to-five pattern and instead working in “sprints” as projects demand may just become a new workplace standard in coming years. The workforce of 2020 will be made up of five unique generations, all of whom will be looking to manage their individual career burn differently in order to do the best job.

The burn of your best work should feel great!

FREE and TIME

Together and separately, your freedom — and your time — should never be compromised. Be mindful! Blocking quiet time on nights and weekends can free you from the stress of email during your off hours, while setting boundaries on time-wasters at the office can help you work more efficiently and get the job done.

Take a look at these tips to help dial in your productivity and reclaim the clock. The sky’s the limit!

Ellen Mullarkey

Ellen Mullarkey is a Vice President of Business Development with Messina Group. Ellen joined Messina more than 25 years ago after graduating from the University of Iowa. She has been instrumental in establishing and expanding Messina’s staffing divisions.

Ellen’s dedication to building enduring relationships with clients and spending time getting to know their current challenges allows her to deliver customized staffing and consulting solutions.

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Employee Experience