This past week marked the official start of summer -- and vacation season is in full swing -- but a new survey from Accountemps found that 54 percent of workers say they plan on checking in with the office at least once or twice a week while on vacation. That's up from 41 percent in 2016.
According to the survey, there were four top reasons people gave as to why they felt compelled to check in.
- Gaining peace of mind that things are under control (54 percent)
- Keeping projects moving along (53 percent)
- Avoiding coming back to extra work (47 percent)
- Preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress (34 percent)
If any of these sound familiar, here are a few strategies for how you can overcome these vacation time stealers and get away for real -- goodness knows you deserve it.
Plan out specific projects vs. general to-do lists.
The key to knowing that you won't come back to a plateful of problems is to create a list of "must do" projects that need to be dealt with, and a checklist of what specific items must get done, while you are away.
Agree with your colleagues ahead of time as to who is going to cover what. You might also want to consider assigning someone as your proxy to ensure that all work on the projects is being done on time and plan.
Create an information cheat sheet.
Provide the people who will be filling in for you with a one-stop cheat sheet Google doc of information they may need including:
- Where to find important files
- Policy and procedure notes
- Location of critical project information
- Tips they might find useful in dealing with specific people and/or situations
Use a freelancer.
Natasha Bowman, author of the book You Can't Do That at Work! 100 Legal Mistakes That Managers Make in the Workplace, recommends sites like upwork.com, which can provide freelancers who offer peace of mind while you're away on vacation.
"I simply provide the freelancers with pertinent information about the project," says Bowman, who adds that freelancers are exceptional at developing presentations, drafting communications, and formatting data into Excel.
Set up your first day back now.
Avoid scheduling any meetings or phone calls for at least a day or two after your return to the office. Mark those dates off your calendar now, and make sure everyone knows those are your catch-up days.
A good formula is that for every day out of the office, you will need an hour of catch-up. So a one-week vacation requires an entire day to just find what has gone on while you were gone, and address any issues which arose in your absence.
Keep your fingers lightly on the pulse.
In an ideal world, you would be lying on a beach, your fingers wrapped around a fruity drink -- rather than furiously typing texts to your colleagues. Realistically, you will have to check in to the office once or twice.
To minimize your touch-base time, use an online project management system such as Slack or Basecamp. This way you can quickly check the progress of important projects and then get back to the pressing work of hiking, biking, snorkeling, or whatever floats your vacation boat.