It’s vacation time, and that means a certain amount of time to relax, have fun, spend your leisurely hours with your family and create new memories. Unfortunately, your career may not allow you to completely omit work from your life even for just a few days. Although you may not have to sport a suit and tie on the sandy beaches, you will be required to check your email each day.
Working during vacations - otherwise known as workcations - is becoming increasingly common for many people. Of course, nobody likes to do it, but it’s a must in today’s ultra-competitive business landscape and difficult economy. Nobody likes to perform office duties while on vacation, but it’s now as ubiquitous as disgusting black liquids found in the office lunchroom euphemistically referred to as coffee.
One can always take comfort in the fact that checking email is one of the simplest of career duties. It may be an inconvenience, but at least you don’t have to fulfill assignments, speak with project managers face-to-face or perform accounting duties in your swim shorts. At the same time, you want to get through everything as quick and painless as possible.
Here are seven effective ways to handle your emails during a vacation:
1. Automatic Vacation Response
If you want to take an entire break from work then an automatic vacation response is the best feature to employ throughout your break. This informs colleagues, managers, clients and others that you’re away from your desk, computer, and work, and you won’t be able to communicate with them until you return to the office.
2. 20 Minutes Per Day
Before everyone wakes up to have fun for the day, arise about 20 to 30 minutes earlier and go through each and every email, and reply to them if they are extremely urgent. This way you are not out of the loop and discover certain surprises upon your return home. Twenty minutes in the morning is perfectly fine as it won’t ruin anyone’s vacation.
3. Brief Email Responses
As you go through every email, you have received since you last checked your inbox, reply to these emails but with brief messages. They shouldn’t be in-depth or 500 words long. Instead, they should be a couple of lines long that go straight to the point with directions and pleasantries.
4. Efficient Questions
When you respond to emails, be sure that your questions also come with certain directives. Instead of asking a yes or no question, add something that informs the receiver that they should be doing such and such at the office. Sending back and forth messages with tips will only waste time and ensure the email process will take a lot longer.
5. Flag the Important Ones
So you’ve decided to avoid answering your emails. That’s okay, but do remember that you should respond to the important ones as early as possible. In order to avoid forgetting, flag those emails that need an urgent response as soon as possible. You’ll avoid having to sift through dozens of emails on the trip home, and the sender will appreciate the fast answer.
Don’t want to think about emails but still want them answered? Well, consider outsourcing this work to either a professional freelancer or someone in your office you can trust. This is an efficient way of getting work done at the office while not actually being in the office or even thinking about it.
7. Informing Everyone of Your Vacation
One week before your vacation, inform everyone you come into contact with on a regular basis that you will be on your vacation and that you will either not check your messages at all or only check them once a day in the morning. Explain to each person that your responses may be slow, but they will be answered as soon as you can.
It could very well appear to be tedious and a nuisance to having to check and compose emails during this precious time. Unfortunately, duty calls and the company obviously can’t operate without your expertise, knowledge and advice. By incorporating these tips into your email behavior during your holiday, you won’t have to be stressed, take away from family time and neglect your responsibilities.