I have just come back from the holiday of a lifetime, white sands, lots of greenery, sunshine all day and numerous rum based cocktails. One question that I always ask myself when I go away is should I work or should I just pack up totally? I have found that there is no one size fits all solution.
Some people are able to switch off and leave their work knowing that things will be fine and they can deal with any queries on their return (this was me when I was an employee with other people to cover for me whilst I was away). Others work throughout their holiday (this was me pre-child) but I find that for me what works form me now is finding a middle ground. In this case it meant ensuring that I sent out one press release for a client whilst I was away and checked my emails daily. I made it clear in my out of office that I would only be checking emails twice and day and only replying to those where it was totally necessary for me to do so.
This was just the right balance for me as it meant I just spent about an hour a day working for the first couple of days and then only about 15 to 30 minutes on the other days checking and responding to emails and media enquiries. Some people may say that that meant I didn’t really switch off but for me it made the holiday more relaxing as I knew I wasn’t coming back to an overflowing inbox (I am definitely in the camp of getting pleasure from seeing a big fat zero in the unread emails section). It also meant that other than the times I had designated to work and checking emails I was able to totally engage with my son and husband and enjoy the break, plus they weren’t affected by these brief work periods as I would do them when they were in the pool or after my son had gone to bed.
Finally the biggest benefit for me was knowing that when I got back into work mode yesterday, I could just crack on with the tasks I needed to do instead of spending half the day wading through emails.
What works for you?