A working holiday might sound like an oxymoron, but there are actually good reasons you might want to sneak in some hours while taking your vacation. A study shows that 47% of people feel less stressed if they don't completely disconnect from work. Another study found that more than 50% of workers find they're more productive when they can stay plugged in. Just don’t over do it – holidays are a time to regroup and relax so that you can return to the office refreshed. Peek these tips to help you check-in and check-out at the same time:
1. Before you leave town, remember to add an auto email reply that states you’ll be out of the office for x period of time, and include a contact person if there is an urgent work matter. It will at least slow the number of people who expect you to respond and take the pressure off knowing that in an emergency, someone else will also be contacted to handle the matter.
2. Plan ahead and before you leave, decide which project(s) must be tackled while you’re away and then feel good about leaving everything else waiting until you return. Print out and organize all the info you’ll need for that project so that you can work on it even when you don’t have internet access. It may sound old-school, but you can’t always count on modern technology.
3. Speaking of modern technology, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. You may not always have internet access or it might be really slow. I use a Mifi so that I don’t have to depend on hotel or airport Internet access and I don’t have to worry about security. Also, bring an extra power-strip because often hotel rooms (especially quaint, older B&Bs or reconfigured manors) won’t have enough outlets for you to plug all your technology into.
4. Install a secondary browser on your laptop that doesn’t require quick Internet to load. Strip it of most of your bookmarks, bells and whistles so that you can just boot up and perform basic work tasks like checking your email.
5. You can keep in touch via phone conferences if need be. Just be prepared to find a quiet place ahead of time so you’re not calling in while marimbas play in the background.
6. Similarly, you may offer to attend a virtual meeting via Skype (or similar means). Just remember that you don’t want to log-on to a virtual meeting sitting by the pool in your bikini. So pack something presentable if you think that could occur.
7. Plan-ahead for your downtime. Check your itinerary and look for moments when you’ll have nothing to do. For example, plan on working while you’re on planes or on buses.
8. Set limits as to what you will accomplish. Don’t tackle time-consuming elaborate projects. It's OK to delegate tasks to a coworker while swinging from a hammock so that when you return, you’re not faced with an overflowing inbox.
9. Set boundaries as to how much time you’ll spend working and during what hours you’ll be working. During the rest of the day, be completely present with your friends/family or just enjoying your holiday. Wake up an hour early to check email (especially if the time difference is in your favor). Or, if you’re in the tropics, consider taking the hottest hours to sit in air-conditioning and work. In my case, as much as my boyfriend will claim that he’ll be go-go-go on vacation, I know that he’ll be taking a siesta mid-day between his beer at lunch. I take that time to work while he’s snoozing.
Look, let’s face it – we all sneak moments while in the office when we check our personal Facebook page, or Pinterest, or order something off Amazon that we suddenly remember we need. So if someone complains that you shouldn’t be working during your time off, just smile and offer to email them a cute cat-photo when you get back to the office and call it even.