Whether it’s that you pack your laptop, answer calls while on a trip, or bring projects along, many of us are guilty of working when we are “off the clock”.
In today’s world, things are such a constant and many of us feel that we should always be available for when a change happens at work. Or perhaps it isn’t that we feel that, but more that we are expected to be available. Why is this? Is it a fear of being replaced if you miss an important call? Is it the looming fear of the overwhelming inbox waiting on us when we return? Is it addiction to our screens? Whatever the reason is, many of us (or our friends and family) are able to recognize that we are TOO available for work at times.
As everyone is planning their summer vacations and excited for some relaxation, many people struggle with what they should do about their job while on vacation. I repeat... while on vacation. In a world where we are constantly connected via our phones, it is hard to set that boundary of being totally unavailable on vacation. Whether it’s that you pack your laptop and just do work in the evenings, answer calls only from your boss, bring projects along “in case I have some free time”, or stay completely connected, many of us are guilty of carrying some work on to our personal trips. So, before you go on your summer trips, consider some of the following things.
· Ask your boss what contact is expected when on vacation.
· Counter with anything that you feel uncomfortable with (remember that is your vacation).
· Do not compare what you should do to what your coworkers do.
· Be realistic with what internet access and time you will have on vacation- don’t say you can do something that will be impossible due to lack of access.
· Most importantly, remember that your company is not going to collapse while you are out of town for a week.
Full disclosure: I travel with my work computer, work in the hotels at night while my family sleeps, and I keep work alerts on. It is what works best for me and my boss knows I am working on deliverables rather than daily tasks since I am “out of office”. This works well because we were able to have a conversation about it and set expectations and boundaries early on. These arrangements allow me to “flex” my time and not take vacation time while I’m vacationing!