The month of OOO is coming to an end. During August the workplace positively hums with Out Of Office messages and the sound of joyous anticipation of a spell on the beach.  This year we have also enjoyed the OOO provided by Team GB as they tore up the record books at the Olympic Games. It’s hard to pick the best Rio moments out of so many belters but my off the sofa OOOs were Jason Kenny’s sprint from the final bend in the men’s keirin final and Holly Webb’s winning penalty in the women’s hockey. Oh and then there were Nick Skelton, the women’s rowing eight, Mo Farah, Jade Jones, Adam Peaty, Laura Trott……So much OOO.

Summer holidays, of course, come with their challenges. As well as exposing our bodies to often unsympathetic elements and insects, we also bare our inner beings to family, partners, friends in concentrations which can upset the equilibrium so carefully established by daily commitments, things to do, people to see. The secret of an enduring marriage was once described to me in terms which, in essence, sounded very much like ‘limited exposure’!

But the benefits of deep personal engagement with ourselves and those close to us, even if it is only an annual event, far outweigh the attendant and frankly minimal risks. Relaxation, recreation and reflection help us to join the dots, to find meaning and clarity in busy lives, to learn more about ourselves and our special relationships, to plan, to prioritise and to grow.

Furthermore, these opportunities properly to check in with our humanity will become increasingly precious as our digitally enabled world makes screen-based shortcuts ever more tempting.

Two morsels from a recent issue of The Week caught my eye in this regard. Firstly, ‘Millennials: why aren’t they having sex?’  Clearly, living with Mum and Dad has something to do with this but, citing an article in The Washington Post: ‘Dating apps such as Tinder have made it quick and easy to find a sexual partner, simply by swiping right on your smartphone. Yet it is the youngest millennials – those who came of age when smartphones were ubiquitous – who seem most wary of sex. They have grown up communicating via screens, and this appears to have left them nervous of real-life interaction.’

Even more worryingly, from a social stereotyping point-of-view, those individuals without a central casting appearance seem to be losing out most because: ‘Qualities such as charm or wit, which can be so seductive in person, don’t show up on a Tinder profile.’

Secondly, from a piece by James Campbell in the Los Angeles Times, ‘We’re losing touch with the great outdoors’. Studies show that many children in the US ‘spend less than 30 minutes per week playing outside.’ Their parents aren’t exactly role models either with statistics suggesting that adults are inside buildings and cars for 93% of their lives.

The extract goes on: ‘In fact, researchers believe a growing number of Americans now suffer from biophobia, or fear of the natural world. They’ve found that, for many children, a mere flock of noisy birds or a strong wind can trigger the sort of fight-or-flight response normally reserved for deadly threats such as mountain lions. That’s a shame, because evidence shows that when children do get daily exercise, it does them the power of good, boosting their self-esteem, problem-solving skills, cooperation, focus and self-discipline.’

Unquestionably web-based technology has transformed our lives. In many ways too the future could not be more exciting. But all is not well with our 24/7, always on, device-centric lifestyle. We are overloaded with information, bamboozled with choice. We are constantly on a high vigilance setting, almost taunted by our instincts and biases to drive ourselves harder and harder.

So let’s hear it for August when, via an achingly fashionable digital detox or an old school analogue holiday, we press the Off button, let our minds and bodies roam, take time to re-connect with ourselves and our loved ones.

And this year, let’s bring this wisdom and inspiration back with us and make September the energetic month of renewal that, in my view, January can never be.

Returning from a break is never easy in practice – watching the hard-earned tan fade, scaling the email mountain, wearing socks again – but let’s stride rather than trudge back to work, let’s plant new ideas, let’s initiate new behaviours, let’s be Olympians!

On that note, any chance that Team GB could run the country?! That would add an Ah to the OOO. OOO Ah!