In a time where it seems like we’re constantly being pulled in different directions with more work and less money, vacations almost seem nonexistent. A summer holiday should be rejuvenating, but for many of us, it’s just another source of stress.
With the current cultural standard that busy=successful, many people are overworked and in need of a vacation. Taking time for family, friends, travel, and relaxation is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Ready to finally book that trip you keep putting off? Do it! But before you do, follow these 6 steps to make sure your vacation is restful and not spent working from afar.
1. Make a plan
To get everyone on the same page, it’s best to check in with your supervisor, business partner, and clients before booking a flight. This way, you can take into account their needs, plans, and schedules.
The simplest way to make sure you can still travel even during busy times is to plan your vacation around slow seasons. If that’s not an option, review timelines for both major and upcoming projects, then schedule your vacation time so it doesn’t interfere.
Outline the goals you need to achieve and what you need to do before leaving for vacation at least a month in advance.
2. Send Off Items For Review
The best way to make sure work is still getting done while you’re on vacation is by delivering lengthy documents, like a quarterly report or PowerPoint for new business strategy, to your supervisor before you leave.
Maintaining communication with your superiors and colleagues while out of the office will put you in their good graces, as they will be constantly updated on your progress.
3. Organize files in a public place
One of the quickest ways to make your coworkers hate you is by leaving them scrambling to find documents they need while you’re away.
Before you leave, put all the relevant documents in an organized folder on your organization’s shared drive, server, or cloud. If that can’t be done, share the files using Dropbox and email a link to the folder.
Not only should you let people know when you’re stepping out, but you should also organize your office so that it doesn’t look like a disaster zone. If someone does drop by while you’re away, they shouldn’t be met with piles of papers and general disarray – it wouldn’t make for a good first impression.
4. Delegate Authority
When you’re putting together your out-of-office plan, make sure to include contact information for leads on projects, clients, and staff supervision. Chat with your colleagues ahead of time to confirm who will cover your roles and obligations while you’re away. Then, shoot off some friendly, clear, and detailed emails that provide the background info, guidance, and tools they’ll need to do a great job.
5. Set Your Out-of-Office. Set it Right
Although you may be tempted to list your Blackberry, personal cell, and the number of the hotel where you’re staying on your out of office message, DON’T. By doing so, you’re more likely to come back from vacation irritable and grouchy—which then defeats the entire purpose of taking a break in the first place.
Be sure to give your substitutes your contact information, a link to access any files they might need while you’re gone, and the date of your return.
If you want to showcase that you’re a true asset to your company, include a link in your out-of-office message to a valuable article that’s specific to your industry. For example, “Before I head out for vacation, take a look at this piece on developing an effective sales strategy.” By doing this, not only are you being helpful, but you’re also setting yourself apart from the competition.
Keep updated with industry news by subscribing to trade journals and reading Forbes, Bloomberg Business Week, Business Insider, Fast Company, and Levo League.
6. Remember, vacations make you a better worker
Although it may feel like you’re slacking by taking some time off, rest and relaxation are actually key to being productive at work. Numerous studies have shown that vacations lead to happier and more well-rested employees who are better equipped to take on new challenges when they return to the office.
Therefore, take your time off and relax knowing that you’ll return to work soon enough with a new perspective, higher productivity, and improved concentration.