Take a Real Vacation: 5 Tips for Managers When it Comes to Unplugging From the Office

by FEI Daily Staff

Top tips for unplugging from the office while on your vacation.

If you’re like many finance and accounting managers, you may have plans for using up the rest of your PTO (paid time off) before the new year. Though vacations are supposed to be a time for getting away from work and recharging your batteries, many supervisors find it difficult to disengage completely. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best. After all, you need to be at peak form for the first quarter of 2016 and tax season. Here are five tips for unplugging from the office while on vacation.

  1. Manage expectations. Decide whether you’ll be severing connections completely or checking in on occasion. If you will be responding to emails or taking calls, set aside specific times. Inform your team members of your vacation schedule. Your staff should know whether they can (or should) contact you during your vacation and, if so, when you will respond. Try to keep your check-in times to an hour a day or a few times a week: Remember, you’re supposed to be taking time off!
  1. Delegate responsibilities. If you’re totally unplugging from the office, which is what vacations are all about, your staff will need one or two people to turn to for questions and advice. Before leaving, ask a trusted employee to serve as a contact person. If you oversee two or more distinct projects, divvy up the responsibilities among multiple finance professionals. You’ll want to schedule a briefing with your backup team before your vacation so they know what to expect. In the short term, delegating covers the bases during your absence. In the long term, you get to see who has leadership potential as you build a succession plan.
  1. Get organized. When you prepare properly before going on vacation, you’ll feel less anxious about tasks dropping through the cracks.
  • Write memos for your replacements, telling them where to find files and how to reach you by phone or text.
  • To save you time when looking over your messages during vacation, take a few minutes to organize email controls before you leave. For example, if you know pressing matters will crop up while you’re away, set up rules so that emails from specific senders or those containing certain keywords are automatically moved to subfolders.
  • Even if you’ll be checking email and voice mail regularly, use out-of-office messages to let people know you can’t respond immediately.
  1. Let go. To maximize the enjoyment of unplugging from the office, have full faith in your staff’s ability to handle things while you’re away. If you’re concerned about any dips in productivity, consider bringing on interim financial professionals.
  1. Don’t overdo re-entry. It’s tempting to dive right in and re-establish your groove after a vacation, but leave yourself some breathing room. Aside from a short meeting to get caught up, don’t plan anything major on the first day back. You’ll have a full inbox to sort through and projects to catch up on.
Unplugging from the office can be challenging for managers, but it’s highly doable if you prepare in advance. Keep these tips in mind before taking off for your vacation, and you’ll come back refreshed, recharged and ready to work.