Disconnect from Work to Work Better

Disconnect from Work to Work Better

* Article updated June 23, 2022

According to CAA-Quebec’s 13th annual survey on vacation plans, 67% of workers will take summer holidays. This is excellent news! After all, in 2020, only 1 in 2 people planned to take a much-needed break.

Holidays have many health (and productivity!) benefits: lower stress levels, improved mental health, better sleep, increased creativity, and more. So, when you consider that Canadians give up some 31 million vacation days each year, it’s cause for concern.

Come on! There’s no way you’re going to leave your well-earned vacation time on the table this summer. Here are tips and tricks from leaders in Quebec and France to help you disconnect.

Recharge Your Batteries

“Work is like a marathon. But that’s just it: we don’t run marathons every day,” asserts Anne Bioulac, Vice President and Head of Customer Data & Analytics at Frog, for Capgemini in France. The executive encourages her employees to take holidays because holidays are essential for being more rested and productive when they return to work.

Anne Bouliac, vice-présidente responsable des données clients de Frog, pour Capgemini, et leader de L’effet A à Paris.

Reconnect at Key Moments

Just because we’re not physically in the office doesn’t mean we unplug when we’re on holiday. Checking emails on our phones, bringing our laptops everywhere, and making a few phone calls; it’s practically a vacation routine. But it shouldn’t be.

“By doing this, we never disconnect. Especially women, who already have the mental burden outside of work of caring for the family,” Anne Bioulac emphasizes.

Depending on your position within the company, you can organize yourself to deal strictly with emergencies. “We can tell our team that we’ll only check our emails at a specific time of day to avoid being at the other end of the keyboard all the time,” says the leader. “In France, there is more and more talk about the right to disconnect, and I think it’s important to recharge.”

Manage Email Strategically

There are “email doctors” that can help us clean up our email inbox to prioritize messages that need to be answered before we go on vacation or deal with them during our holidays and filter out those that can wait until we get back.

A quick web search will reveal professional advice and apps for taming your email inbox without going into airplane mode. These tools can also be used on weekends to care for your family and personal life.

Be Clear and Specific with Your Team

For Anne Bioulac, being able to unplug during your holidays entirely is a question of organization: giving clear instructions before leaving, sorting your messages, and above all, not feeling guilty about taking an extended vacation.

“We must stop wanting to be perfect and remember that no one is indispensable, and things can generally run without us,” she maintains.

Whether in France or Quebec, even if the relationship with work is different, the conclusion remains the same; it’s essential to take a real break, ideally by disconnecting entirely during the summer holidays.

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Author profile

Gabrielle Brassard Lecours


Gabrielle Brassard-Lecours has written for various Quebec media organizations and teaches journalism at Concordia University. She is also Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of digital media outlet Ricochet and President of the Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec.