Vacation. It's one of the most coveted and valuable employee benefits. Even the happiest and most satisfied worker can appreciate the importance of taking some time away from pressing deadlines and early alarm clock warnings. And while technology has made it easier to learn more about great summer vacation getaways and values, it's also made leaving work behind even harder. With the convenience of the Internet and gadgets like smartphones and tablets, it's become increasingly harder to unplug from work during vacation. That's why it's important to make some solid plans even before you pack your suitcase.
- Give advance warning. The best way to prepare your co-workers and clients for your vacation is to give them advanced notice. That way you can make preparations for who will cover your workload while you're gone, and set expectations for your customers. It also gives you enough time to ensure you get your work done.
- Create out-of-office messages. Use technology to your advantage by creating out-of-office email and voice mail messages. Be sure to indicate when you will be out of the office and when you will return, and remind people that you will not be checking messages on vacation. If a co-worker is covering for you, be sure to include their name and contact information. Let people know if they leave you a message, you will not return their call or email until you are back in the office.
- Disable your work email on vacation. While it would be great to leave your smartphone or computer at home, many of us like to be connected to our favorite websites and videos on vacation. At the very least, disable your work email and turn off the ringer on your phone.
- Leave an emergency number. Make sure your boss or a key person at your company is aware of your vacation coverage plan. To protect yourself, you may want to leave him or her a number for work emergencies.
- Have a check-in time. If the thought of leaving work completely behind makes you even more stressed, try checking your email or voice mail at specific check-in times. Only respond to messages that need your immediate attention. Otherwise, your co-workers and customers will think they can call you any time.
And most importantly ...
Relax. The fact is, while most of us think our businesses and employers can't get along without us, they probably can — at least for a week or two.