Time to Unplug? 4 Tips to Help You Slip Into Vacation Mode

Time to Unplug? 4 Tips to Help You Slip Into Vacation Mode
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In the modern work environment, more and more employees find themselves constantly plugged in. Whether it be the constant pressures of virtual meetings, LinkedIn, social media, e-mail, or teleworking, the separation of workspace (office) and personal/family time (home) has blended into one continuous stream of consciousness. 

So what happens when vacation starts but your boss, co-workers and even clients/customers are acting like it is still business as usual?  Well, here are a few quick tips to help you prepare for – and then stay in – vacation mode:

1. Make a plan with the boss. When you request time off,  have a conversation with your immediate supervisor to ensure expectations are aligned. Make sure you and your boss have a very clear understanding regarding out-of-office policies and guidelines. Do you need to check in? Who is responsible for picking up your workload?

Determine what is hot and what can wait for your return. The last thing you want to do is create a crisis for those left behind in your absence.  

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2. Don’t keep the plan a secret.  Once you have a clear understanding with your boss, meet with those you supervise to delegate/assign those previously-agreed-upon responsibilities, assess the status of ongoing projects, and review any milestones and deliverables, as required.

Let internal and external stakeholders know that you will be temporarily unavailable, ensure you are in a mutually agreeable place with current activities and timelines, and who they should coordinate with during your absence. 

3. Manage your (away) messaging. Remember to set your out-of-office and record your voicemail message.  Be sure to include a statement such as “I am currently unavailable, but will respond to your message upon my return on [XX date].  If immediate action is required, please contact [Colleague name and number].”

4. Play by the rules. Once you are on vacation, and depending upon the arrangements made with your boss, set guidelines for yourself on “if and when” to engage on any work-related activities. Then, have the discipline to stick within those set boundaries. 

Now, stay in the moment!  Remember your time off is part of your overall compensation and benefits package. If you are in a position where you are experiencing challenges unplugging or carving out your well-deserved vacation, it may be time to explore other career opportunities. 

And if that’s the case, we may have the perfect event for you: Check out MOAA’s 2019 Military and Veteran Networking Forum and Hiring Event, set for Sept. 19 at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Register today!

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