Career challenge: Should you stay in touch with your job while you’re on vacation?

Career challenge: Should you stay in touch with your job while you're on vacation?

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

However, you have a pressing career question before logging out of all your work connections.

(And that’s pretty important.)

Do you need to keep in touch with your work while on vacation?

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Experts share differing views on whether a complete disconnect from your professional role is advisable.

Still, if you decide to keep availability limited while you’re away, here are some tips on how you can do so without interfering too much with your rest and relaxation.

Keep one foot in the door to work

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

Even if you’re in PTO, you’re still part of a work team — and your contributions are always important.

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

“It’s all 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 national recruiting technology and services company based near Los Angeles, California.

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“It pays to check with the office or your immediate team if something is urgent and let them know you are available if something super important comes up,” she added.

Take a look at your work email

checking smartphone next to laptop

Checking your emails while on vacation can alleviate future stress, as long as relaxation remains the priority during your free time. (iStock/iStock)

Stempel recommends checking your inbox regularly while you’re away.

“It gives you the ability to clean up or file away any unnecessary messages as they come in,” she said, “as well as flag important conversations to follow up on when you get back to the office. “

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This short task can also help you manage stress back to work.

“The downside is making sure you’re always 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 recommend checking in 1-2 times via Slack or email with your manager and/or team and saying hello,” she said.

As for email, she recommends checking email in the morning, before moving on to activities for that particular holiday day.

Does the size of your company or your position matter?

If you’re at a large company, you probably have someone taking care of your tasks for you, Stempel said.

But if you’re in a startup or small business, fully covering your role can be a little trickier.

“Your role absolutely matters,” she added.

In sales, for example, you’re responsible for your time and commissions, she said, so it’s important to sign up for a sales position — you don’t want to miss an opportunity.

What about going completely off the grid?

Isle of Palms Beach Walkway in South Carolina

Rest and recharge are key to maintaining productivity levels, an expert says. Checking in while on vacation can be a “slippery slope”. (iStock/iStock)

If your vacation plan is to log off and not log on to your work while on vacation, there are experts in your corner.

“First and foremost, one of the keys to maintaining high levels of productivity is to rest and recharge,” Helene Segura, 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 it doesn’t happen while you’re on vacation, it’s unlikely to happen on evenings and weekends when you’re home.”

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

Once you’ve opened the door to being contacted by work while you’re away, it can become a slippery slope.

family hikes together in the woods

If you don’t relax on vacation, you’re unlikely to relax on weekends and evenings at home, says an expert. (iStock/iStock)

“If you expect you will have no problem working on your vacation, there will be less hesitation in the future for your office to contact you and wait for responses outside normal office hours,” Segura said.

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“Also,” she added, “if you solve everyone’s problems for them, they never learn to think or function independently.”

She said that means “you will continue to be on call to get everyone thinking until the day you part ways with the company.”

There can be piles of work and administrative headaches when you return.

The decision to disconnect from your work loop 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 full break from workdon’t check your emails and avoid the urge to contact your office.

Just remember the potential downsides to this decision.

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

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