To disconnect or check in? That is the question most entrepreneurs ask themselves before heading out on vacation. If you have spent the better part of your adult life building a business from the ground up, it’s totally understandable that the thought of unplugging from your “baby” may give you a minor anxiety attack. Truth is, your reluctance to disconnect could have a series of negative effects on both you and your team.
First and foremost, you deserve to enjoy your vacation and disconnect. Many business leaders may feel a sense of guilt leaving their team in the dark while they try to enjoy a vacation. At the end of the day, you are just as human as the rest of your team and you need a break too. Your brain physically needs time to rest and recover and your team will thank you for it when you return with increased productivity!
Another aspect to consider is that you are setting the example for your employees regarding what’s expected while out of office. If you don’t take a proper vacation, your employees will feel like they have to follow suit and remain in communication while they’re away. This can lead to negative emotions when people feel trapped within the confines of their job, which is definitely not the morale any entrepreneur is aiming for among their team.
Technology makes it so easy for us to remain connected while away, so you will have to take action to avoid checking in on work. We totally understand that you may literally have to talk yourself out of checking your messages. For starters, turn off notifications and move any apps that are relevant to work to a “Do Not Open” folder on your homescreen. If you’re still tempted to take a peek, you can also physically step away from your phone, computer, or other devices. Leave it in your hotel room and walk away to create a physical distance between you and work.
One of the most common arguments against unplugging is the fear that there might be something urgent that needs your attention. This is completely understandable as there are some questions or circumstances that only the boss can handle. You have to establish a trust in your team and believe that they have it under control. If you’re still worried about the pop-up emergencies, set up a means of urgent communication that your team is only instructed to use if the situation is really a legitimate cause for immediate concern.
For example, if Slack or email are the traditional means of communication within your business, tell employees to text you with urgent messages. This will give you the peace of mind that anything crazy happening back home will get to you. This “urgent channel” will also encourage your team to pause before reaching out to determine just how urgent the message they are sending you really is.
Another cause for concern about unplugging is the fear of how much work there will be waiting for you when you return. The truth of the matter is that you will have a lot of messages and work to return to, that’s just the nature of running a business. Checking in on them from your beach chair is not going to help reduce the number. All this will do is give you something to stress about when you should be relaxing. To combat this metaphorical pile of work waiting for you, schedule a buffer work-from-home day before physically returning to the office. This will give you time to get up to speed from the comfort of your own home before returning to the reality of the work week.
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received from a boss is how important it is to step away so that you can come back to the office and remind yourself why you enjoy what you do. Don’t feel guilty about unplugging this summer, and remember to relax!
Story By: Sophie Duncan