Out of Office. Vacation tips for leaving work at the office

Group travel generally means two things: fun with friends and an enormous to-do pile when you return to the office. Balancing fun with workplace responsibilities is never easy, but that’s no reason to not enjoy a great trip with great people!

Eilene Zimmerman of The New York Times wrote an article this week focusing on the difficult nature of leaving work behind to go on vacation. Here are a few common questions that she has answered. Enjoy these vacation tips for leaving work at the office:

Q. You’d like to take some vacation time this summer, but you have a heavy workload and are worried about falling behind. Should you take time off anyway?

A. Generally, yes. Vacations are good for you, professionally and personally. The stress, frustration and weariness that come with any job — even one you enjoy — inevitably build over time. Taking a vacation is like hitting a reset button, allowing you to become more creative and productive, says Jeff Cannon, an executive coach in New York.

Q. You’ve decided that you want to go away for a week, but others in your department are also planning vacations. How can you get the week you want when others want it, too?

A. The further ahead you plan, the more likely you are to get your preferred week — though some workplaces have rules that grant time by seniority only.

Q. How can you enjoy your vacation without worrying about the office?

A. Make a plan that covers what you intend to finish before you leave, as well as the tasks that will be handled each day you are gone and by whom, so everyone knows their responsibilities, says Dawn Fay, a district president in the New York office of the staffing firm Robert Half International. “Make sure to inform your customers that you will be away and give them a contact person in your absence,” she says.

Q. Is it O.K. to disconnect electronically while on vacation?

A. If you do work that’s time-sensitive or where people must be able to contact you, make yourself available for a certain period a few times during the week or for a short time frame each day, Ms. Fay says. After all, it won’t be much of a vacation if you’re tied to your cellphone.

If everyone in your firm is reachable around the clock, you have to decide how much you’re willing to buck that trend, Ms. Sladek says. Limiting accessibility to specific periods during your vacation may be the best compromise.

Q. How can you make the post-vacation transition back to work less stressful?

A. Before leaving, schedule a transition meeting for the morning you return with those who covered for you, Ms. Fay says. They can tell you what happened in your absence. If you work in a fast-paced environment, Ms. Sladek says, it may be wise to clear voice mail and e-mail the night before you return: “This way, you are ready to dive back in first thing in the morning.”

Read the whole article here: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/employment/balancing-a-vacation-and-a-busy-office-638781/#ixzz1wwF97KJ4