It seems that a call from the office, while you’re on holiday, is more stressful than being in a fight with your significant other or being stuck in traffic? Nothing kills the happy, carefree holiday vibe faster than a missed call from your boss, or seeing the word “urgent!!!” on an email subject line from one of your staff. And in case you missed it, there is now a thing in the workplace called “holi-work,” a term coined to describe a holiday that is not 100% holiday because you still have to be plugged in remotely to handle the work stuff.
These days, it’s quite challenging to go truly on holiday without squeezing in some work-related matters. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the salty ocean breeze and that invigorating hike up the mountain altogether. There’s a way to make the most out of your holiday and come back to work with the office still in one piece.
Set a fixed time of the day to do your work
Before packing your bags and flying off to that glorious place of rest and relaxation, inform your office regarding what time of the day you will only be available to reply to emails and answer phone calls. This sends the message that you can still be reached even while on holiday, but only at a specific and limited time. After this, your mobile phone and your laptop will be switched off, and you can only be reached again at the same time the following day.
If you have to work, make sure to pick the tasks that are urgent but minor
Technically, you’re on holiday, so the office should not expect you to do the bulk of the work. If you can get a colleague to fill in for you while you are away, with the promise of doing the same thing for him when he goes on his overseas trip to Barbados, so much the better. Checking and responding to emails is okay. A quick phone call or a 15-minute Skype meeting is okay. Checking on schedules or reports is okay. But save the biggies for when you get back.
Get organized before leaving the office for your holiday
In short, work like a dog now so you can party hard later, with minimal to zero interruptions. Clear your pending files. Delegate tasks. Submit reports long before the deadline. Clear your schedule two to three days before your holiday starts to give allowance for last-minute tasks. Write your out-of-office email. Make it short and professional, with information about how long you’re going to be away and when you will be back. Include clear and precise instructions on who they can contact for urgent concerns and to reach you only if it’s a matter of immediate attention.
For some people, rest and relaxation are hard to achieve if their mind is filled with concerns at work. So, manage expectations. Inform your colleagues and bosses that you have limited access to office email and won’t be carrying around your mobile phone to answer queries all the time. Keep your holiday itinerary to your close family circle only so you won’t end up being called to a regional sales meeting just because you’re in town. With a little bit of planning and organization, working on holiday need not be a nightmare.