Last week on the blog we looked at why it makes productive sense for business owners to take proper holidays and switch off from work and technology completely for a short while. Although having uninterrupted time to relax and refocus is the ideal holiday scenario, we realise that it’s often not possible for busy managers and business owners, especially when major projects are running. If you find yourself in this position and are having to factor work into your holiday plans, setting yourself some strict ground rules and advance planning can help ease the pain – for you and your holiday companions.
Top tips for managing work while you’re on holiday.
Preparation, preparation, preparation. The best way to ensure that you get some time for decent relaxation on holiday is to put in the organisational effort beforehand. Make sure that major clients and stakeholders are well aware in advance and are not taken by surprise by your absence. (If your initial client contracts make it clear that other contractors or partners might be involved in projects at certain points, all the better for transparency).
Leave very clear, friendly Out of Office automated message responses – and stick to them. If you say you are available to answer email every morning – make sure that you are. Accuracy and consistency of the message is all important for a professional approach.
Conduct a proper handover of work to a designated team member or project management contractor before you leave – the more clarity of information you share at this point, the less your colleagues and team members will need to bother you when you are away.
Set reasonable criteria for what you will and won’t get involved in while you are away and make sure your colleagues are fully aware. Have someone available to text you if there is a real crisis or major problem that needs your input.
Log on at a specific point each day and set yourself a time limit for checking in, answering emails etc. If you know you just need to put in an hour before breakfast every day and can then switch off, you can keep abreast of important developments without too much disruption to your (or your family’s) holiday.
If you really can’t avoid or delay a meeting when you are away – make advance preparations for virtual meetings by Skype and secure remote access to documents. Make sure it all works smoothly beforehand. There’s nothing worse than glitchy tech and bad phone lines when trying to conduct business professionally!
Finally - do by all means have your Smartphone with you for extra peace of mind – but set yourself strict limits on its use. When you’re not working, turn that phone and email off. And relax!
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