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How to unplug while on vacation

For some, staying in touch is important

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Summer is almost upon us, and that means it's nearly time for summer vacations.

But many have a hard time leaving the office behind when you're away from it.

In fact, 54 percent of workers say they typically check in with the office at least once or twice a week during their vacation, up 13 percent from last year.

It can be a balancing act.

“I think it depends on your role within the organization and what’s going on at the moment,” said Kevin Traynor, vice president at Robert Half Finance and Accounting. “The first recommendation is to unplug completely and give yourself time on that vacation to come back to work refreshed and ready to go.”

Sometimes, checking in while on vaction can be a positive habit, but in moderation.

“For most people it’s just having that feeling that they’re not losing control of what’s being done at the office while they aren’t there,” Traynor said.

Individuals might feel better that they are keeping projects moving along, avoiding coming back to extra work or preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress.

“A lot of our apprehension of taking the vacation time or completely unplugging is because of our colleagues and we don’t want to offload too much on them,” Traynor said. “So it’s a big thing when people are thinking about whether to check emails on vacation.”

Some strategies for unplugging while on vacation:

  • Let colleagues know. Once your vacation request has been approved, give key contacts advanced notice about your time off. When you plan to truly disconnect, make it clear to your manager and team.  
  • Keep information accessible. Let your colleagues know where important information is kept and how your files are organized in case someone needs to access them.
  • Reduce your commitments. Limit the number of activities, meetings and business obligations the week before you leave.
  • Set boundaries. If you must check in, set a schedule for the brief times you’ll be accessible and note it in your out-of-office reply.
  • Get back on track. Upon your return, schedule a quick meeting with your manager or team to get caught up on what you may have missed and what projects are a priority.
  • Ease your mind. Put your work worries aside while on your vacation. You’ll return to work feeling more energized and ready to tackle your workload upon arrival at the office.