Taking a Vaca – Turn off the Technology! 

Work-Life Balance 

It’s summertime, and whether you’ve worked in your company for just a short time or for a few years, everyone needs to spend time away from the office. To make your getaway truly special, you must rid yourself of distractions by turning off your technology.

While it seems incomprehensible in today's 24/7 always-on environment, can you really go a few days or even a week without checking company e-mail?

Renew and Re-energize. Not only will you have a better time on vacation; you won’t be stressed due to staying in touch with your office. Even if you take a “stay-cation” and stick close to home, this kind of break benefits you and your employer because you will return with more energy and ready to face your challenges.

Real-Life Gets in the Way. At some point, you must prepare for reality. While you’re gone, there may be a time when you have to respond to a client or customer matter—and that’s OK. It’s called “life getting in the way,” and it’s better to expect something to come up rather than to think that you won’t be bothered at all. Before you go, however, set up some ground rules as to how you want to be reached. If you’re truly not checking e-mail, then a text message or call may be a good solution.

Shadow System. One way to avoid that call or text is to make sure you have your bases covered. No one can do all of your job while you’re away, but your co-workers, managers and others can step in and solve a problem. Most companies have a shadow system in place in which your peers learn the basics of each others’ positions. If your company doesn’t have something like this in place, suggest that one be created. After all, how much can you accomplish while you’re away? 

Client and Customer Commitments. One of the most important objectives in shutting yourself off from the world during your vacation is to not lose any business. If you are unresponsive for more than a few days and you work in a firm, your clients may consider your lack of communication a warning sign that you are not paying attention to them. Are they likely to take their business elsewhere? Who knows? Still, we’re talking about your “professionalism” and the image you project for your firm.

As a result, you must make your clients aware that you are on vacation, and give them the time you will be back. This is as simple as leaving out-of-office phone and e-mail messages, but be sure to guide your clients to someone else who can help them. It also is recommended that you have a co-worker or assistant check your messages while you are gone in case there is an emergency.

If you work in a company versus a firm, the same kinds of situations can happen. Leaving similar automated messages is key; you don’t want the CEO to search for you only to learn you didn’t leave any information as to how he or she could be helped.

Back Up Your System! Again, real life gets in the way. What if a man-made or natural disaster occurred and you lost your computer files because you weren’t backed up? This is a quick fix. Your company or firm should have on- and off-site backup policies in place; be sure to follow them. If no backup or security policies exist (and they should exist), then simply back up your data files to an external hard drive or flash drive. It’s that simple.

Take a Break. Texts, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare. All of this can be very addictive and take away from personal time, which is what a vacation is all about. This is a time to escape, so don’t make your vacation an extension of your business. Enjoy your time away from the office, so that when you return, you are refreshed and ready to hit the ground running.


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