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Why you shouldn't completely unplug on vacation

Sharon Florentine | April 6, 2016
You owe it to yourself to think twice before completely disconnecting from the office on your next vacation.

"The modern concept of work-life balance is focused on offering employees the flexibility to work anywhere, anytime -- leaving fewer fixed working hours and more project-driven or service-level deadlines and opportunities for ongoing streams of innovation and communication between team members," Kaul says. Collaboration technology, the cloud and BYOD have all conspired to allow employees to work seamlessly from anywhere. That "mobility effect" will continue to cause an overlap in people's personal and professional lives, so employees need to figure out how and when to connect and disconnect, he says.

To maintain the balance, organizations need to set up policies, processes and incentives that enable entire workforces to easily pursue more balanced lives, and managers, IT leadership and C-level executives should model appropriate behavior themselves, according to Kaul.

"As a managing partner, ensuring a healthy work-life balance for myself and modeling that for my employees is crucial for fostering organizational fulfillment, frequent innovation and ideation, employee retention and the attraction of new talent," says Kaul.

Go home

For many workers, there's an unspoken expectation that the more hours they work, the better, says Kjerulf. This "Cult of Overwork," he explains, is subtly reinforced by executives who themselves put in sixty to eighty hour work weeks and seem to expect their employees to do the same.

"One of the ways to avoid this is to consciously disconnect and make time spent not working meaningful -- do more than just binge-watch 'Orange is the New Black' on Netflix. For example, spend time with close friends, take a class, try a new hobby, volunteer or contribute time to a charitable cause," Kjerulf says.

Ensuring the balance between a working and a personal life begins with establishing realistic goals, prioritization, organizing their workload and staying focused to accomplish each responsibility as a milestone, says NextDesk's Lee, but maintaining this balance also requires a very strong sense of remaining in the present moment, wherever that may be.

Get organized

"Self-management and organization are key. Worrying about what's going on at the office can ruin a great vacation, so while I suggest you keep a pulse on the office, yes, don't let it take over your personal time. Make a concerted effort to keep your mind in the present moment once you're done checking email," Lee says. Having colleagues and coworkers you trust to "hold down the fort" while you're away helps immensely, but in the absence of that, try and be as organized and proactive with tasks as you can so that you're not overloaded or tasked with resolving a crisis when you come back, Lee says.

 

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