Summer is for disconnecting, getting away and having fun right? Well it’s supposed to be anyway… But these days it’s hard to truly step away from our work and life obligations and just enjoy being in the moment.
A recent study showed that 42% of workers believe it’s expected that they check email while on vacation. Yet, at the same time 67% of those questioned said that taking a vacation made them feel more productive upon their return. For many people bringing along their mobile phone, laptop or tablet to get through small work items does help alleviate the stress of being away from the office – and can add to their relaxation in the long run. If you subscribe to this way of thinking then we have just the tips to help:
A Little Planning Goes a Long Way: A few weeks before your departure start discussing with customers, contacts and co-workers your plans to have a relatively uninterrupted vacation. Make sure they feel comfortable with you being out of pocket and handle all outstanding items or let them know who the contact is if someone else will be handling their needs. Make sure you have properly instructed your internal backup for the variety of issues which could come up so that they aren’t forced to contact you either.
Strategize: Try to limit yourself to checking email and working only during certain times. We recommend waking a little before your travel companions so that you can capitalize on the quite time of day when you are less likely to encounter distractions. Then, only allow yourself occasional moments every other day (or less!) to check your emails and voicemail – and be sure those times are not when you are in the middle of quality time with your fellow travelers.
Use Technology: Set the “out of office” on your email account and leave a detailed outgoing voicemail that provides specifics about who can help and/or how long the person should expect to wait to hear back from you if their issue is urgent. Look into services that convert your voicemails into emails so that you do not have to call into the office to pick up your voicemails and so that you can easily forward the message onto your backup if an issue needs to be addressed.
Be Selective: Pick and choose what you spend your time on. Don’t check all your email accounts – those that you use to receive promotional emails can wait until you return from your holiday. Quickly sift through your work emails to address only those that are pressing and more importantly only if you are the sole person who can answer. If you have used your out of office and voicemail as we recommend then people will know who to go to for urgent issues.
Don’t Get Stuck in the Social Media Trap: We’ve all said it, “I’m just going to check Facebook really quick!” But inevitably we get involved in scrolling through the news feed and spending valuable vacation time on buzzfeed articles and animal videos. Maybe you want to post a picture from the beautiful waterfall you just saw – that’s fine but do it tomorrow during your allocated online time in the morning. Instead, be in the moment.
Use Your Mobile Phone As A Hot Spot: Hopefully most of what you need to do can be done from your phone but if you find yourself having to pull out your laptop or tablet for a more involved task the last thing you want to do is wander around looking for a local hot spot. Your SmartPhone should give you the option of setting it up as a wireless router – with security and all! Keep in mind that regular data use and charges will apply.
Trust in Your Preparations: You have set the expectation with your business partners and co-workers that you will not be readily available. You now have to trust that they will all get along fine while you take a week or two to decompress!