Work-life balance is important. So, why are so many Americans working on vacation?
With the rise of digital connectivity, most employees clock in longer hours every passing year — even when they aren't technically in the building. In fact, a study from last fall showed that 61% of working Americans continue their duties while on vacation.
Employees should take note: Staying anxiously connected while on vacation does nobody any good. Worse yet, it can undermine both your own well-being and the company bottom line. Nobody profits when employees lose control over their feelings, the way they allocate their energy, and the work-life balance they should maintain.
We know that it's healthier to disconnect while on vacation. But deciding to do this only solves part of the problem. The next question is: How do you do it? How can you turn off and tune out without fearing that your job will disappear in you absence? Here are 10 tips to get you started.
Make a plan
Don't let this fear get the best of you. As soon as you make travel arrangements, map out a plan of action so you can really leave without worrying.
Hand your work off carefully
Delegate to your direct reports and get help from your coworkers. Make sure each person clearly understands what you expect. Get written confirmation that they accept this responsibility.
Set your "out of office" messages
Set your email and voicemail to let others know when you'll be back and who they can turn to for questions and emergencies.
Isolate your itinerary
Take your trip itinerary out of your work email. This will reduce the temptation to log on and check in every time you look at your travel info.
Use all of the disconnectivity available
Don't leave money, time, or headspace on the table. Assertively take all the time and freedom that you can. Don't voluntarily offer any of it back. Remember that work-life balance is important.
Explain that you won't be checking in (if you won't)
Be clear with your boss that you will be entirely disconnected during your trip. That way you'll avoid surprise or confusion.
Set a check-in schedule (if you will)
If you do plan to check in, create a set schedule so your boss, coworkers, and employees know exactly what to expect. For example, you may plan to check your inbox every day at 9:00 AM. After you see no pressing issues, check out for the next 24 hours.
Take only personal devices with you
If you don't have your work computer, you won't be tempted to use it. Don't bring it with you.
Turn off notifications
If you current settings allow you to see notifications and alerts whenever you receive a work-related text or email, change your settings temporarily.
Commit to improving your work-life balance
Take your time and your mental health seriously. Fight back against anxiety and interruptions that prevent you from enjoying your vacation. If you really want to get away and spend some time with your loved ones or yourself, then do it. Take responsibility for your actions — and inaction — while you're off the clock, just as you do when you're in the office.
For more on how to make the most of your vacation time and cultivate a work-life balance that benefits both you and your employer, explore the career-building tools on MyPerfectResume.