I was on vacation this week.
And I didn’t respond to one email. In fact, I didn’t check it all week.
Could you go on vacation and not check your work email?
Working While on Vacation
I write often about how technology can be a great productivity enabler. It allows us to work in ways and places never before possible.
The irony is that technology can also be one of the biggest time wasters in the workplace. It is estimated that many corporate workers spend up to a third of their time in their email inbox.
As well, it can also be a leash that ties employees to their work 24/7/365.
Which gets back to my question…
Recently, I was at a social event where someone commented about a co-worker that was not serious about their job. The story continued that the co-worker didn’t bother to reply to emails while they were on vacation.
I responded, “They were on vacation with family. Did you really want them to be working while on vacation?”
The other person said, “Well, no. But, they could have at least responded to my email.”
Escaping the Email Trap
The most disturbing part of the above conversation is that the individual equated “not checking email while on vacation” with not be a serious employee.
Without starting a full-blown debate on work-life balance, I believe that you should not be checking your work email while on vacation.
Here are several tips to help you Escape Your Work Email while on Vacation:
- Set Expectations – Simply setting expectations in your absence is a powerful method of preventing many communication issues. Make sure people know you are out of the loop. When I am on vacation, I ensure that my out-of-office notification clearly states that I will be away and who to contact in my absence.
- Trust Your Team – Too many leaders want to “be in on every decision.” You need to trust your team to make decisions and act in your absence. No one person should be indispensable to operations. And if they are, you aren’t empowering your people.
- Reachable for Emergencies – Maybe not for the general population, but my boss and my direct reporting manager could reach me via text or Slack.
Unplug and Enjoy
Technology empowers us to get work done while on the go, and in more efficient ways than ever before.
Yet, you need to unplug when you are on vacation. Make sure your vacation is just that, a vacation. Recharge your body and mind.
Use your vacation to reconnect with what is most important. When you look back, you will not remember that “important email” you had to handle, you will remember the fun adventures that you had with those that are closest to you.
Question: Do you check work email while you are on vacation? You can leave a comment by clicking here.