Should You Take That Vacation?

As vacation season heats up, many workers, especially in the current economic downturn, are questioning whether that 2-week getaway is such a good idea. Struggling companies are requiring more work from their remaining employees while others are trimming payrolls to cut costs.

As workers become more concerned about their job stability, vacation requests will likely be for fewer days and include the caveat that employees will be actively checking e-mail and available for work calls.

A Careerbuilder.com survey found that a quarter of employees will be in contact with the office over their vacations, up from 20 percent in 2007. Most workers (31 percent) will use their time off to rest, catch up on housework and run errands, according to the survey. Only 36 percent will use their time to travel.

Here are some tips to keep that work/vacation balance, especially if your company is feeling the impact of the economy.

Vacation Planning
MAINTAINING CONTACT WITH WORK

  • Inform key contacts that you will be taking a vacation and provide the names and contact information for your backup.
  • Change voicemail and set up an automatic email response message to inform people that you are on vacation. Include your return date and the name of a backup at the company who can provide assistance.
  • Check email and voicemail and respond only to situations requiring immediate assistance. Keep your boss informed as to what you have done on your break.
  • Provide the number of the hotel or to your backup where a message can be left and responded to at a convenient time.
  • If you are a manager, leave employees a list of tasks to complete while you are away. This will help them focus and help keep your mind off of what they are doing or should be doing.
  • Prior to leaving, make a list for yourself of tasks that should be addressed upon your return. This will help you get back into the swing of things when your vacation ends.

Vacation Planning
TAKING A VACATION IN A DOWNTURN

  • Use an already-scheduled long weekend, such as Memorial Day or Fourth of July, to plan a break. The fewer days you have to take off, the better.
  • A Saturday at the nearest national park or forest preserve with a picnic lunch can refresh you for work on Monday.
  • If you generally do some work on the weekends, choose one to turn off your phone and laptop for the entire time. Let business associates know you will be unavailable.
  • Plan regular BBQs or backyard parties with friends and family on the weekends. Give yourself something to look forward to.

What do you see at your company?

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