Make Sure To Vacate When You Vacation

Posted on June 19, 2012.

va·ca·tion: a scheduled period during which activity is suspended

My name is Cindy and I’m a recovering “crackberry” addict. Before I went into recovery, my blackberry was never away from my side. Every vacation, every weekend, I had to keep a constant eye on the device and it’s relentless messaging or I’d start shaking. Sound familiar?

It’s not surprising that a recent Psychology Today article highlights a study that showed how overworked and overwhelmed workers are. Really? It’s no wonder when everyone is always schlepping all their devices with them every weekend and every vacation. The really smart people know they have an addiction so they vacation somewhere they can’t get reception or service. As a manager you not only want, but need to encourage your employees to really vacate when they leave. The study went on to say “85 percent who took seven or more days away report that they returned more refreshed.” So given a choice, do you want burned out or refreshed employees?

  • Lead by example.People always want to emulate the boss. If you come in early, they come in early, Stay late, they stay late. Check you messages all weekend and every night, they will do the same.  Take your laptop and smart phone on vacation, ditto. You need to stop checking and sending messages when you’re suppose to be off or on vacation. Once you do, everyone will follow suit.
  • Don’t expect a response. I’m sure you have a mail list that goes out to your team so it’s hard to exclude people that are on vacation. You need to make it clear to the vacationer that you have zero expectation of a response or action.  If there is a crisis while they’re out, you should make sure there is someone in the office to handle it.  No one is indispensable, and certainly not for a week or two at a time.
  • Force people to schedule time off. Early in my banking career, you were forced to take two weeks off at a time. It was to help catch people that were stealing.  What happened to those days?  Make sure your chronic over workers are scheduling and taking their time off. As the Psychology Today study makes note, refreshed employees are more productive.

Hopefully this summer, you too can start your recovery and enjoy a real vacation. Leave the devices at home! As a side note, I’m on vacation this week, but since I practice what I preach, I posted this blog before I left.