You Shouldn’t Work On Vacation, But If You Must…
Here’s how to do it.
Summertime’s in full swing and most offices are finding themselves short a staffer or two in rotating vacation intervals. And while a lot of us would love to completely unplug when we’re at the beach or traveling abroad, it’s nearly impossible sort of unrealistic for those of us with technology dependencies. In fact, a recent survey found that 60% of U.S. employees work on vacation. It’s also been tested and proven that we achieve better results when we’re in a comfortable setting with a relaxed mindset.
For the boss, staying connected makes it easier to relax because he/she knows everything is going okay back at the office. For employees, checking in and answering emails makes them appear present and continually engaged (Hey look! I care!). And thanks to continually emerging technologies, it’s become effortless to work from virtually anywhere. Whether you run a small business or work for a sizable company, you’ve got more tools at disposal than ever to work remotely.
In April, we wrote a blog post about good practices for working remotely — offering a few tips for working smarter while working away from the office. But now, we’d like to explore the specific task of working on vacation — not just day-to-day remoting.
So how can you work smarter on vacation?
Fully Unplug, If You Can
Vacation is for relaxing. So if you can leave your phone in the hotel room and leave your iPad uncharged, do it. Your work back home will benefit from your distance and clearer head. But we fully understand our shared compulsion to check inboxes and social networks and sometimes we can’t help ourselves from working, even when we’re not supposed to. So decide beforehand if you’re going to fully unplug [if you can] and commit to working or not working for the duration of your trip.
Organize Your Work Time
If you can’t fully unplug, set aside a few minutes each day to address work issues. Shoot your coworkers an email before you leave, letting them know you’re setting aside this daily chunk of time and that you can be reached then. Try to plan this block so that it doesn’t interfere with family time — creating an opportunity for you to commit to a predetermined time slot without the guilt. Designate a work zone and turn off notifications when you’re done. And most importantly, don’t work a minute longer than you’ve allowed yourself.
It’s easy to start something seemingly quick and easy and suddenly find yourself in a rabbit hole hours later. So try to reserve your daily work time for simple, easy-to-execute tasks like follow-up phone calls and emails. If something big is coming down the pipe, hand it off to someone back at the office or put it on hold.
The Bottom Line: Just because you have the technology to work away from work, it doesn’t mean you should use it. BUT if you must, use it sparingly.