OTHER ARTICLES Last modified on October 19, 2015

People matters - Give us a break

Terri Morrissey and Dr Richard Plenty provide their thoughts on: The importance of taking a break from the digital world.

When was the last time you went on a holiday without your phone, iPad, iPod, laptop or other electronic communication devices? 

When did you last have a real holiday where you could switch off from work related issues; where you were not contacted by some member of your team or your boss; where you had to become involved in some ‘urgent’ decision, discussion, problem, procedure, people matter?

When did you wake up in the morning to greet the day, not expecting to see an email, text, tweet, diary reminder or red-flagged item?

There was a time when people who went on holiday actually went on holiday. Organisations had developed a system called ‘acting up’. This involved someone on the team, a potential successor or report, stepping into the holiday taker’s role. They took over the position and made all the decisions in the other’s absence. 

This system had a number of advantages:

  • It gave the ‘acting up’ person the development opportunity to operate at the level above them, making decisions, taking the responsibility
  • The system ensured cover for key operations
  • The ‘holidaymaker’ could ‘switch off’ and enjoy their holiday with their family and friends and return to the job refreshed

This practice is rare today. What tends to happen now is that people never ‘switch off’; they are on constant call; their physiological state does not get as refreshed.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang points out in his book The Distraction Addiction that our desire to remain connected at all times has become a stress-inducing burden. 

Other experts agree. “We have been seduced by distraction,” says psychologist Daniel Goleman. “We are being pulled away from paying attention to the things that enrich our lives.”

Intrusive technology has created a situation whereby we can be available at all times and in all places. The UK communications regulator Ofcom’s statistics show that people spend more time looking at media than they do asleep. 

Medical concerns are being expressed about the increasing adverse health effects such as obesity and diabetes. CIPD research shows that people have less downtime, are more stressed and experience burnout more frequently at work than in the past. 

What can we do about it? Well, why not bring back succession planning in the form of ‘acting up’ so we can take our holidays in peace; Bring in workplace policies to insist people take their holidays and ban contacting them except in an emergency; and trust those back at the ranch to cope!

By doing so we build organisation and individual resilience, enhance the talent pipeline and encourage true engagement and trust. 

As Seneca the Younger said over 2,000 years ago: “The love of bustle is not industry, it is only the restlessness of a hunted mind”.

 

ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES

Eric Dumas is the new chief executive of Aéroport de Tahiti (ADT), succeeding Frédéric Mor who has taken up a new role at the HQ of Egis Airport Operation in France. Dumas has worked as the operations manager of ADT since leaving Lyon-Bron Airport in 2013. Egis has a 19% stake in ADT.

Melbourne Airport has announced the appointment of Simon Gandy as its acting chief executive officer. The appointment follows the departure of former CEO, Chris Woodruff, who officially left the role at the end of June.

Vienna Airport’s executive directors Julian Jäger and Günther Ofner have had their contracts extended to 2021 by the Austrian gateway’s Supervisory Board. Both men were appointed in 2011 and their deals were due to expire in September 2016.

Mark Reis, managing director of the Port of Seattle’s Aviation Division and long time friend of Airport World is to retire in early 2016. He has worked for the Port of Seattle for 27 years, the last 11 of them in the hot seat. “Mark’s dedication to the Port of Seattle, the airport, and the people of this region has helped us manage both the recent record-breaking growth at the airport and the economic downturn before that,” said Port of Seattle CEO, Ted Fick.

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