When was the last time you took a summer vacation? If your answer is ‘with my family when I was 13’…you aren’t alone. Many people, with families or without, face a conundrum when it comes to booking vacation from work. Taking any amount of time away from your busy job often seems impossible.
Let’s face it, the standard 9-5 hours plus 3 weeks’ vacation in reality becomes whenever-whenever and a sick day on occasion. Maybe this is the year you finally cash in on your un-used vacation time and join the ranks of people who can forget about work for a week or two.
Your friends and family who think you are a workaholic will be behind you 100%, but before you pack it in on a whim, consider the following particulars:
1. Take it or leave it? The technology question…
This is probably the number one item of discussion for anyone leaving on an extended vacation… should I bring my Blackberry/Cell phone/iPad, or leave it? If you bring it, you will look at it. If you don’t bring it, you definitely will NOT look at it. Simple as that. So can you live without casually perusing emails or checking in with colleagues? In some cases it is good to be aware of the conversations and issues happening while you are away. As long as everyone you deal with directly knows that you will not be available to answer, carrying your lifeline may not be a bad idea. But if you have explicitly advised your peers and management that you will not answer any calls or email, don’t break your own rule, or you will be ‘on call’ all vacation.
2. When is a ‘good’ time?
Is there ever really a ‘good’ time to take time off? Short answer: yes. The first thing to take into consideration is when your colleagues are taking vacation, and make plans to stagger your time away. You may be the only person who does your particular job, so make arrangements well in advance to hand off your work load to other team members. Though it may sound obvious, check your calendar and make note of deliverable dates and weeks/days that are particularly important and plan around them.
3. Keep it simple: Automate
If you haven’t set anything up to be automatic, now might be a good time. When you take vacation, the last thing you want to be worried about is whether or not your work is getting done in your absence. Maybe there are some tasks that can be handed off to someone else, outsourced, or automated that will help ease the stress of vacation and your daily work routine. Look into virtual resources and solutions that can take over day-to-day responsibilities and be efficient and reliable whether you are away or at your desk.
It should get easier and easier to take time away. With new technologies making the world more connected and with cloud and outsourcing resources allowing for the hand-off of responsibilities – plan to take vacation this summer, it won’t hurt!