Nothing says summer like going on a relaxing vacation where you can over-eat, over-drink, and get a little sunburn. The problem is that many of us are planning to go on said vacation, but don’t really know how to totally unplug while we are actually there. Our smart phones, ultra light computers, and addicting tablets make it all too easy to stay totally connected to our work when we really should be giving our brains a much needed break. I think this is especially true for us Millennials, who have shattered the work-life boundaries and learned how to seamlessly weave both into our day-to-day. Even though these blurred lines of routine allow us to live the schedule we want, that mentality hurts us while on vacation. Inspired by my recent getaway, here is a to-do list of items to help you tie up loose ends so you can you truly enjoy your time away, while not putting your team in danger of fire while you are gone.
Figure out if and when you are going to have wifi
This might seem like a stupid thing to consider but if the answer is no, you will know upfront that if you needed to communicate with your team, it might be more costly or impossible.
Be realistic about your vacation email responder
Setting an email vacation responder might sound old-school but it is a must. When setting your timeframe, be realistic about when you are going to check out and check back in. If you want a quiet day to catch up when you get back, extend it out an extra day so you can use that time to get back in the game.
Furthermore, be specific in your vacation email response
On the same note as above, make sure your email is specific enough that is someone has questions or a need, they know where to go. Stay away from “If this is an emergency, contact So And So”, because not everything is an emergency and you don’t want the sender feeling like they are imposing. Try to be more thoughtful and give contact information for someone who is prepared to deal with your list. If you work across a few different departments, call out who to contact for what to make it even less confusing for the sender.
Create a to-do/status list for those you work with and report to
I recently did this (for the first time) before my vacation and it really helped me feel like whatever I was working on or thinking about lived on a document that was visible to my team so if there was a question or deadline while I was away, all the information was easily accessible. This is especially important if a co-worker is going to handle your project or deliver tasks while you are away. The more proactive you are, the less chance you have of someone interrupting your beach yoga session to ask what the latest is with the John Doe account.
If necessary, set a day and time that you will be available
If it is totally impossible for you to cut off communication while you are away, or if there is a super important something that you can’t miss, designate a day and time that you know you will be available. This way, your team can collect all questions, comments, and concerns for that time-slot so both parties don’t have to worry about responding to a waterfall of communications.
Let your close clients know that you will be gone
Your vacation responder will probably suffice for 90% of your emails but for those who you communicate with daily, shoot them a separate personal note to let them know the dates you will be gone and who they can contact in the meantime. This will firstly, reinforce that you care about them and are thinking about their needs, and secondly, might prompt some things that you can take care of before leaving.
In short …