In a fast-paced, always-on city, how easy is it to switch-off when you set that ‘out of office’ sign? Is it at all possible to disconnect from the office once you set out on a holiday?
Here are some tips from Compass Offices for creating that work/life balance while vacationing with your family.
1. Set the scene
Be sure to let your colleagues, clients and suppliers know that you will be away prior to jetting away to your far-flung exotic destination. This may mean certain project deadlines are moved earlier or later to accommodate your absence. That is a fairer alternative than them dialing you into a conference call while you’re about to take a siesta.
2. Create the perfect handover notes
The concept of handover notes isn’t to off-load all your work to colleagues, but to brief them on essential actions that require attention while you are away. It would be impractical to assume colleagues can (or will) do all of your work while you are out of the office. The more comprehensive your handover notes are, the less likely anyone will need to contact you urgently to ask a question. Make sure to include all contact details of any third party suppliers or freelancers you use.
3. Give a clear out of office message
Make it clear in your out of office email that you are not going to respond until your return. Give an email address of a colleague for anything urgent and let that colleague know you are doing so.
4. Change your voicemail message
Make sure to change your voicemail on your desk landline and business mobile to inform the caller the date of your return. It is a good idea to also mention you won’t be checking voicemails until then.
5. Make a decision regarding your email
When it comes to managing your email, you need to make a plan ahead of schedule and stick to it. Check your email periodically and only for 15 mins at the same time each day. You may want to check first thing in the morning, or in the evening depending on which timezone you are on compared to colleagues. Immediately file anything you know can be read later at leisure such as newsletters or marketing mail and delete anything which is junk.
Anything sent directly to you can be opened and read and flagged to respond on your return. Do not reply while you are away, it will only prompt further conversations on the matter. If it is urgent and requires a response, forward to your nominated colleague (the same one mentioned on your out of office notice). File all emails where you are copied – you can read those at a later time. When reviewing your emails on holiday, remember the people that this effects.
You spend more time at work than at home, so just once or twice a year, switch off the work email and phone and concentrate on relaxing and paying attention to a different kind of priority.