…and enjoy your holiday too!
Deciding how to manage your emails whilst you’re on holiday is a decision that can affect both the quality of your break and the ease of your return to the office.
If I were to ask you “how do you deal with your emails when you are on holiday?” you’re most likely to give me one of these responses:
- I go away and leave an out of office message for people
- I keep opening and responding to them whilst I’m away
- They go into my inbox and just pile up until I return
Managing your profile, your clients and your energy whilst you’re out of the office plays a big part in how effective the holiday time is for you and how connected (or disconnected) you feel towards your holiday companions.
“I go away and leave an out of office message for people”
What is your out of office message and what’s the point of it?
- “I’m out of the office for two weeks” – no idea when you went, when you’re returning, what I should do whilst you’re away…
- “I’m on holiday, please call Jan Smith if it’s urgent” – no idea for how long, who Jan Smith is and no contact details for her…
- “I’m away from the office until 1 July 2017, I’ll be in touch again then” – at least I know how long you’re away but what do I do in the meantime?
If you are using an out of office message, make it helpful; think about who will receive it and what you want them to think about you when they do!
“I keep opening and responding to them whilst I’m away”
Whether you’re a business owner or you work within a business, this is so easy to do and has many benefits as well as drawbacks.
Benefits: your inbox is under control, you keep people informed, you stay in the loop and when you return you can ‘hit the ground running’.
Drawbacks: your mind and energy kept focusing on work and your attention is constantly divided between relaxing and responding to your emails, people around you get less of your down-time self and you notice less of your holiday surroundings.
This is a tricky one to balance; keeping in touch and then switching off. If you do decide to keep responding to your emails whilst you’re away, put some structure in; it will give you the freedom to enjoy the time out. Without it you can end up being ‘business as usual’.
“They just go into my inbox and just pile up until I return”
The thing about just leaving your inbox and walking away is the effect it has on you whilst you’re away; you can use a lot of energy even though you’re lying on a sunbed or swimming in the sea as you wonder about things from a distance.
“Just walk away” has great merits and it also has a price; your clients and colleagues wonder about your commitment to them and, if they experience you being away while leaving them ‘hanging’ until your return, it says a lot about how you are as a person to do business with. Keeping them informed buys you crucial credit from those people who have to wait for something because you’re away. A simple, clear bounce-back solves this and tells the person you’ve considered them whilst you’re away.
You know what your holiday is for and about, what’s going on in your business and how important reading your emails is whilst you’re away; a combination of all three is powerful.
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