"Vacation, All I Ever Wanted..." Or Is It?

Harris Interactive conducted a study with employees at various businesses and found some interesting results regarding vacations.  44% of employees dread the craziness of preparing for vacation at work the day before they leave. Additionally, 77% of employees believe the day they return from vacation is worse. How can you avoid the work related stress when it comes to a vacation? Here are a few tips to have a worry free vacation.

Before You Leave

  • To-Do List: Before leaving for vacation, create a list of what you need to do when you get back home. Take a look at your schedule and see what projects, deadlines, meetings, and other events you'll have. Know what you have to do when you get back so you have no surprises.
  • Vacation Alert: Create an automatic vacation response for your email address. This allows customers, employees, and clients who email you to know you are out of town, and when you will be returning. This way, no one will be expecting your usual prompt response or action.
  • Prepare Employees: Discuss expectations with employees. Make sure they have understanding on how to run the business without you there. Review any tasks before you leave, and if necessary, write out a how-to on certain tasks. Also, have an employee brief you on what you missed while you were gone in an email, and have them send it to you the day before you return. That way, you can find out upon your arrival to the office what you missed while you were gone.

On Vacation

  • Don't Stay Connected: Try to not check your email or phone frequently if you are worried about your business. If you must, limit checking your email or phone to once a day, preferably in the afternoon.
  • You're Not On the Clock: Limit business work to less than an hour each day, if you even have to do business-related work at all. Spend the time on vacation enjoying your time to yourself, your hard work, and life.
  • Relax! It's a vacation. Don't worry too much about your business. Enjoy your time away. This is the time to enjoy, relax, and recharge.
When You Return
  • Before The Office: When you get home from vacation, try to check your work email before going into work. Read the status update from employees regarding the business while you were on vacation (Prep Employees under Before You Leave). Read the urgent emails first, such as important clients, employees, or others and handle those quickly. Organize the rest by how urgent the email is, what it entails, and how soon you must respond.
  • Welcome Back: Try to arrive at the office early to avoid distractions from customers, employees, or just other work in general. Spend a short amount of time talking about your trip with employees, but then get back to work. Take care of the mail, shipments, finances, or anything else you may have missed while gone to catch up and get back to the regular work schedule.
  • Keep the Memories Alive: Miss the vacation feeling? Reminisce in a subtle way. Put a picture on your desk to remind you of your vacation. If you have a computer, make it your background. 
When taking a vacation from regular life and work, these tips are some pretty healthy guidelines, and not just for the business owner. They'll work just as well for anyone who takes afew days off for a vacation. Next time you have a vacation and are worried about work, reference these tips, put them to use, and have fun!