Career challenge: Should you stay in touch with your job while you're on vacation?
Experts share pros and cons of check-ins with work while you're away
Your bags are packed — and you're ready to escape on a well-deserved vacation.
However, you have one pressing career question before you log off from all your work-related connections.
(And it's pretty important.)
Should you keep in touch with your job while you’re away on vacation?
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Experts share differing views about whether a total disconnect from your work role is advisable.
Yet if you do decide to keep limited availability while away, here are some tips on how you can do so without too much interference with your rest and relaxation.
Keep a foot in the work door
Even though you’re on PTO, you are still part of a work team — and your contributions are still important.
Checking in with your job will not only alleviate your anxiety while you're away from the office, it can also keep the project-flow going in your absence.
"It's all about balance," Lauren Stempel, vice president of recruiting with Betts West, told FOX Business.
"Prioritize your vacation time off so you can relax, unwind and come back stronger and more productive."
Betts is a nationwide technology and recruiting services firm based near Los Angeles, California.
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"It's beneficial to check in with the office or your immediate team if anything is urgent and let them know you're available if something super-important comes up," she added.
Take a peek at your work email
Stempel recommends checking your inbox periodically while away.
"This gives you the opportunity to clean out or file away any unnecessary messages as they come through," she said, "as well as flag important conversations to follow up on once you’re back in the office."
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This short task can also help you manage stress upon returning to work.
"The downside is making sure you are still in vacation mode," advised Stempel. "Prioritize your vacation time off 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 your vacation length, plus your role within the company, said Stempel.
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"I'd recommend checking in 1-2 times via Slack or email with your manager and/or team and say hello," she said.
When it comes to emails, she recommends checking email in the morning, before you move on to that particular vacation day’s activities.
Does your company's size or your job role matter?
If you're at a bigger company, you likely have someone covering your tasks for you, said Stempel.
But if you’re with a startup or a smaller company, full coverage for your position might be a bit trickier.
"Your role absolutely matters," she added.
In sales, for example, you are responsible for your time and your commissions, she said, so checking in for a sales role is important — you don’t want to miss an opportunity.
What about going totally off the work grid?
If your vacation plan is to disconnect and not check in with your job while on holiday — there are experts in your corner.
"First and foremost, one of the keys to maintaining high-productivity levels is resting and recharging," 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 is not happening while you’re on vacation, it’s doubtful that it happens on evenings and weekends when you’re at home."
The more hours you work without fully recharging, the more your productivity levels, creativity and problem-solving skills will deteriorate, said Segura.
Once you open the door to being contacted by the job while you’re away, this can become a slippery slope.
"If you’ve set the expectation that you have no problem working while on vacation, there will be less of a hesitation in the future for your office to contact you and expect responses outside of regular business hours," said Segura.
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"Plus," she added, "if you solve everyone’s problems for them, they never learn to think or operate independently."
She said this means "you will continue to be on call to do everyone’s thinking until the day you part ways with the company."
There may be piles of work and administrative headaches when you return.
The decision to disconnect from your work loop while you’re on vacation is a personal choice (and is also dependent on your position in the job).
If you feel you can truly relax and want a total break from work, then don’t check your email — and skip the urge to touch base 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 when you return — plus possible resentment from co-workers who may have needed your assistance on something while you were away.