Disconnecting from work while on vacation is easier said than done. You might have a crucial role in your organization or there might be something important happening when you need to take your vacation. You may be a freelancer who work from home and needs to stay connected or a manager, a consultant or an entrepreneur who has no one else to delegate tasks to. But working on vacation doesn’t have to ruin your fun, if you manage it carefully. Here are some tips that can help you to get the most out of your vacation even when you have to stay connected.
- Set Expectations and Backup Plans
Let you colleagues or superior know months in advance that you will be going on vacation. Propose ideas on who can do what responsibilities when you are away.
Ask those persons if they will be able to handle those responsibilities while you are away. Let them know how to get in touch with you, like your whatsapp phone number, in case there is something that is urgent.
Also let them know the time periods in which you will be available and that they should only reach out to you in the case of real urgency that can’t wait.
Before you leave the office, select one or two blocks of time each day that you choose to catch up for work. I would suggest either the early mornings before your family is ready for breakfast or the evenings, after you have done enjoying your day.
Let your colleagues know the blocks of time when you will be available for answering emails, taking calls and other work tasks.
- Prepare Your Clients
Let your clients know in advance that you will be away and introduce them to the person who will be taking over while you are away. Make special arrangements with your clients if necessary.
- Make sure you have internet connection
Where ever you are going for your vacation, ensure that there is unlimited internet access. Whether you are going to a hotel, lake cottage, or another destination it is important to find out, before you go on vacation, if the place you’ll be staying at and it’s environs have internet access.
You don’t want to reach there and then find out that there are internet issues. That’s a total nightmare that will stress you out and start your vacation on the wrong foot.
Nevertheless, you need to be prepared for slow internet and have a backup plan to combat this.
Here are some tips:
- Carry with you a small wifi router like Airport Express and a power strip. This is a backup plan in case there is no wifi (only ethernet access) or not enough outlets.
- Save your important documents offline, so you can continue working on them in case of temporary internet loss.
- Get a wireless hotspot or a tethering plan for your mobile phone. You can use pay as you go options, if you don’t want to do the monthly plan. You might not need a plan for tethering, there are free android tethering apps that you can add on your phone and laptop that will let you tether through USB cable. One thing to note is that this can eat up your data plan if you do more than shooting a few emails.
- If the internet is slow at the hotel, make sure that you only do bandwidth-light tasks at that time and when you have better connection, for example at a coffee shop, do bandwidth-heavy tasks there.
- If possible, do the most important tasks at the office before you leave, while you have good internet connection.
- Add a secondary browser on your computer that might work a bit better with slower internet, with the right tweak or add-ons you might get your work done quicker.
- Set up Email and Voicemail Alerts
Set up an automated email notification to let your contacts know that you are on vacation. Let them know the date period of your vacation and how to contact you if it’s urgent. But please let them know to ONLY contact you IF it’s important and can’t wait until you return. You can leave a voicemail on your office line and cell phone letting them know that you are on vacation. You should check your voicemail and text messages periodically but do not answer your phone.
- Set Your Work Schedule
The most important rule here is to only work during “work time”. Do not do any work during “Vacation time”. Set your work schedule either in the morning or evening.
For example you can check your email around 5pm each day, during that time everyone is getting ready for dinner, showering, etc. That way you don’t get to lose any quality time with your family.
Resist the temptation to elongate your work schedule. The most important thing is that you relax during your vacation and enjoy your vacation time.
- Manage Your Vacation Schedule
Lastly, you need to manage your vacation schedule and let your family aware of your work schedule. It is possible that there are some days that you wont get to work because of the excursions or other scheduling issues, but it is important that you and your family keep your work plan or schedule in mind.