Professional challenge: Should you stay in touch with your job while on vacation?

Your suitcases are ready and you are ready to escape for a well deserved vacation.

However, you have an urgent career question before you disconnect from all your work-related connections.

(And it’s pretty important.)

Should you stay in touch with your job while on vacation?

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Experts share differing views on the desirability of a total disconnection from your job role.

However, if you decide to keep limited availability while you are away, here are some tips on how to do it without too much interference with your rest and relaxation.

Keep one foot in the work door

smiling woman on laptop

“It’s all about balance” when it comes to checking in with work while on vacation, an expert told FOX Business. (iStock / iStock)

Even if you are on PTO, you are still part of a work team and your contributions are still important.

Checking in with your work will not only ease your anxiety while you’re away from the office, but it can also keep the project flowing in your absence.

“It’s about balance,” Lauren Stempel, vice president of recruiting at Betts West, told FOX Business.

“Prioritize your vacation so you can relax, unwind, and come back stronger and more productive.”

Betts is a nationwide recruiting technology and services company headquartered near Los Angeles, California.

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“It’s helpful to check with the office or your immediate team if something is urgent and let them know you’re available if something super important comes up,” he added.

Take a look at your work email

checking the smartphone next to the laptop

Checking your email during the holidays can relieve future stress, as long as relaxation is still the priority during your free time. (iStock / iStock)

Stempel recommends that you periodically check your inbox while you are away.

“This gives you the opportunity to clean up or archive all unnecessary messages as they come in,” he said, “as well as report important conversations to follow up once back in the office.”

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This short task can also help you manage your stress on returning to work.

“The downside is making sure you’re still in vacation mode,” Stempel advised. “Prioritize your vacation so you can relax, unwind, and come back stronger and more productive.”

How (and how often) should you check in?

When and how you check in depends on the length of your vacation, as well as your role within the company, Stempel said.

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“I would recommend checking in 1-2 times via Slack or emailing your manager and / or team and saying hi,” he said.

When it comes to email, it is recommended that you check your email in the morning, before moving on to the activities of that particular vacation day.

Does the size of your company or your job role matter?

If you’re in a larger company, you probably have someone to take care of your duties for you, Stempel said.

But if you’re with a startup or a smaller company, full coverage for your position might be a little trickier.

“Your role is absolutely important,” he added.

In sales, for example, you are responsible for your time and commissions, he said, so checking in for a sales role is important – you don’t want to miss an opportunity.

How about getting out of the work grid completely?

Palm Island South Carolina Beach Walkway

Resting and recharging is key to maintaining productivity levels, one expert said. Holiday check-in can become a “slippery slope”. (iStock / iStock)

If your vacation plan is to log out and not check in with your job while on vacation, there are experts on your side.

“First of all, one of the keys to maintaining high levels of productivity is rest and recharge,” Helene Segura, a productivity expert in San Antonio, Texas, told FOX Business.

She is also the author of “The Great Escape: A Vacation Planner for busy people who want to take a real break from work and life”.

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“If this does not happen while you are on vacation, it is doubtful that it will happen in the evenings and on weekends when you are at home.”

The more hours you work without fully recharging, the more your productivity, creativity, and problem-solving skills will deteriorate, Segura said.

Once you open the door to be contacted by work while you are away, this can become a slippery slope.

family hikes together in the woods

If you don’t relax on holidays, it’s doubtful whether you relax on weekends and evenings at home, says an expert. (iStock / iStock)

“If you’ve set an expectation that you won’t have a problem working during the holidays, there will be less hesitation in the future for your office to contact you and expect answers outside of normal business hours,” Segura said.

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“Plus,” he added, “if you solve everyone’s problems for them, they never learn to think or operate independently.”

He said this means “you will continue to be available for everyone’s thoughts until the day you part with the company.”

There may be piles of administrative work and headaches upon your return.

The decision to disconnect from your work cycle while on vacation is a personal choice (and also depends on your position in the job).

If you feel you can really relax and want a total break from work, don’t check your email and skip the urge to get in touch with your office.

Just remember the potential drawbacks of this decision.

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You will need to accept the realization that there may be piles of work and administrative headaches upon your return, as well as possible resentment from colleagues who may have needed your assistance for something while you were away.

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