In today’s fast paced world, it’s hard to take a true vacation. Our work often follows us wherever we go, whether that’s a different country, the beach, or our own homes. A survey done in 2013 found that 54 percent of workers say their bosses expect them to do at least some work on vacation.
While vacations may seem like a luxury, they are actually extremely important for your mental health and happiness. Taking time to get away from the office can make you more productive and motivated when you get back. As employees, it’s important that we re-learn how to take a true vacation and enjoy our time off from work.
Always Plan Ahead
Most employees report having to do some work while on vacation because there is no one back in the office to take over their duties. If your company is opposed to hiring a temp to do your job while you’re gone, it’s going to be up to you to plan ahead before you change into your swimsuit.
The week before you’re scheduled to leave for your vacation, take the time to look ahead and see what projects or tasks need to be done in the coming weeks. If you can, delegate some of the tasks to other co-workers in your department. Let them know that if they help you out while you’re gone, you will have their back when it’s their time to take a vacation.
It may be tempting to bring along your work phone or computer while you’re on vacation, but it’s best for you to leave all of that at home—out of sight out of mind. Disconnecting from work completely means not answering any emails, taking any phone calls, or working on any projects while you’re on vacation.
To take it a step further, try disconnecting not only from the office but from the rest of the world as well. Whenever you go on excursions or just go to lay on the beach, leave your phone and computer in the hotel room. Grab a book or just spend some time meditating to refocus your brain and boost your mental health.
Schedule Time to Be Contacted
If you find disconnecting from the office to be particularly challenging or job just won’t allow you to go MIA for a couple of days, the next best option is to schedule specific times to be contacted. With a set time where you allow yourself to take phone calls or answer emails, you won’t be bombarded with distractions all day long and will still be able to enjoy your down time.
Set aside two to three hours a day and let your office and co-workers know this is the only time your phone will be on for conference calls or virtual meetings. Mornings often work best because you are wide awake, won’t have to worry about rushing back from an activity, and you can get your work out of the way so you have the rest of the day to have fun.
For more tips on how to get the most out of your time, check out our blog post “How to Stay Focused When You Work Remotely.”