Although many of us wish things were different, heightened job expectations have forced many vacationers to find new ways to integrate the office into their downtime. In 2013, the American Psychological Association reported that close to half of American workers check work messages as least once a day while on vacation. Whether we are on the beach with our smart phones, or at the pool with our laptops, vacations now come complete with a little bit of extra work.
Of course, staying plugged in 24/7 can take away from our fun time with family, but it can also lead to ineffective performance at work. Despite the fact that productivity is actually poorer, APA research found that 56% of those studied felt that staying tethered during extended breaks from the office actually allows for greater productivity, while 53% percent feel it improves flexibility.
Regardless of where you stand on the matter, there are always ways that you can improve your work-life blending skills. Take a look at the different strategies that can help to blend your family and your colleagues while you are on vacation:
Give yourself cushion:
For most people, they only consider the actual days that they are vacationing as their days that they are off duty. In reality, building in extra breathing room around your vacation allows you to transition into and out of vacation time and help prevent unnecessary stress. Author of “Personal Productivity Secrets,” Maura Thomas suggests changing your voice mail and email out-of-office messages to say that you are gone one day prior to actually leaving on vacation and that you will return one day after you actually return. Giving yourself an extra day to return back to zero before people expect a response from you can be beneficial and ease the transition back to work.
Pre-delegate top priorities and share schedules:
No one wants to receive the dreaded work call on vacation that an urgent issue has come up and your attention is needed. Before picking up the call, determine if you are the only person capable of fixing the scenario. Pre-delegate by asking a colleague to serve as the first reviewer or input provider in order to ensure work carries on in your absence. Also, be sure to define your availability in advance so that you are not frequently called during your vacation.
Just go on vacation:
When looking at the same APA report, more than half of employees do not check their work email while on vacation. There are a handful of executives who fully agree that in order to get the full value if a vacation, employees should entirely disconnect from all work-related plugins. Instead of fretting over how to get work done while you are on vacation, completely disconnect and enjoy your time away from the office.