Many managers have trouble enjoying their time off work. About 25% of managers report that they cannot take a vacation. From those who do take a vacation about 30% work from remote and 30% reports that they will contact work or listen to voicemails.
Taking time off from work is good for you. You will be able to take a different view of issues that you have been working on. Everything looks different from a beach in Hawaii or the deck of a cruise liner. Just the process of leaving, actually having a date that you will not be in the office for an extended period, helps you to get organized. My most productive days have been the days before vacation periods when I suddenly find the energy and drive to go through all my projects and take stock of where they are, what needs to be done and who can help me with getting it done.
So how can you ensure that you will find no disasters upon return, and how to deal with your Sr management who expects you to be available and your department who expect you to be there to take decisions?
See if the following suggestions work for you:
Explain the talented people in your department, who you have been earmarking to move up during succession planning meetings, that your time off is their opportunity to be the acting senior and take decision. Yes you will remain responsible and you can and will take decisions that have not been finalized upon your return but this is their moment and they should recognize the opportunity to shine.
Explain your Sr management the same and ask them to monitor the outcomes and communications from your department as you will be seeking feedback on how your staff did. At the same time do provide them with your emergency availability contact details but they will most likely understand your challenge to your staff and know who to contact when things need to get handled.
Be clear in your voice mail and out of office response message about when you’ll be back and who they can contact while you are out. Ensure that person is available and knows that you have left their number as contact.
Don’t schedule appointments for the first day back at work but dedicate the day to catching up on how things went while you were out. Come back a day before you need to return to work and clear out your voice mail and start to login to your mailbox to see what has happened.
If it really is not feasible to completely disconnect, agree to listen to voicemail every second day but resist the urge to take live phone calls from the beach. You will not be focussed enough to be at your best performance, your caller will not get the response they are used to and your family will complain about you not being available for them.
Enjoy your time off!