Inside Track | Professor Simone Buitendijk – It’s important to take a break

In this Inside Track feature, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, reminds us of how important it is to make arrangements for taking our annual leave entitlement.

University of Leeds Vice-Chancellor Simone Buitendijk poses in front of one of the buildings on campus. August 2020.

With spring now here and lockdown restrictions gradually easing, it feels like we can start to see light at the end of this long tunnel.

It has been a difficult period for many of us, and things continue to be tough. As we look to the future, I want our community to be ready for the opportunities that lie ahead.

That is why it is vital that we take the annual leave we are entitled to. Sometimes we need to do this at exactly the point where it feels hardest to.

So, for your own wellbeing, I’d urge you to start planning and taking some well-deserved breaks. 

As Vice-Chancellor, I also need to plan for the coming months, and make sure our community is rested, resilient and ready to deliver what the University needs. I worry that colleagues are delaying taking their leave until lockdown lifts – meaning we could have too many people on leave at the same time, and that they aren’t getting the timely rest and relaxation they need. 

In a complex organisation such as ours, it’s essential we coordinate periods of leave. That means ensuring everyone has the chance to take their holiday, while maintaining our ability to cope with activities such as confirmation and clearing in August, and welcoming new members of our community in September. 

So, if you haven’t already got your annual leave booked, please discuss this with your manager (or the person who normally approves your leave requests) as soon as you are able. 

And you do not need to save your days for Christmas – I’m delighted to let you know that we have made an early decision that this Christmas/New Year closure will, again, be for two weeks (pro-rata for part-time staff) to give most colleagues a good, long break. The University will be closed to normal business from Tuesday 21 December 2021 to Monday 3 January 2022 inclusive.

If you need time out for different circumstances – e.g. carer’s leave or unpaid leave – make sure to look at the options available and discuss it with your line manager or HR representative. 

I am immensely proud of how our community pulls together, motivated by the best interests of those students and causes we serve. But to serve others, we must first take care of ourselves. 

With my thanks to you all.

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor

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