Around the country businesses and their employees are preparing for the height of vacation season. Sure that means lots of happy daydreaming about lazy days on the beach, but for both management and front-line employees it also means a certain degree of stress.

Besides perennial travel woes like jet lag, sunburns, and missed connections, vacations offer plenty for professionals to stress about, including figuring out who will pick up the slack when you're away from the office, deciding exactly how in touch to stay while traveling, and bracing yourself for the inevitable mountain of email that will greet you upon your return.

At least the last of those worries might just be curable.

One tool to delete them all

With the growing problem of email pile-up marring otherwise refreshing breaks, some individual professionals are crafting their own solutions, but one company at least is making an organization-wide attempt to fix the problem using technology. The Huffington Post recently announced a new tool to help employees hold onto their post-vacation bliss a bit longer.

HuffPo founder Arianna Huffington sent an email to staff announcing the new tool, created by the company's techies, a few weeks ago. What it does is simple — just click it on and, for the duration of your vacation, all your emails will be either deleted or archived, whichever you prefer, with senders receiving an autoresponder letting them know they should get back in touch once you've returned to the office.

“We see people (and I’ve been guilty of this myself) go on vacation and put up an out-of-office message, but still respond to incoming emails--often seconds after the sender receives an out-of-office email! Why? Because we are addicted,” Huffington told Business Insider, explaining the genesis of the tool.

“We decided to create our own tool,” she said, “so they can truly unplug and recharge during their time off.” Well that's email-induced vacation re-entry shock solved then.

Should your company try something similar? If you have technical folks on staff, creating such a tool might be doable, but even if you don't, simply letting your team know that it's OK to trash their entire vacation's worth of emails could be liberating. And as far as tricks to get your staff to actually unplug and avoid burnout go, it's no doubt cheaper than some of the other options — like bonuses for taking time off and completely unplugged — that other companies are trying.

What do you think of the HuffPo's approach to vacation email?

Published on: Jul 17, 2015
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