Career Challenge: Should you stay connected to your job while on vacation?

Your bags are full – and you’re ready to escape on a well-deserved vacation.

However, you do have one urgent career question before you sign off on all work-related communications.

(This is very important.)

Should you stay connected to your job while on vacation?

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Experts exchange different views on whether it is advisable to completely separate from your business role.

However, if you decide to keep limited availability while you are away, here are some tips on how to do so without much intrusive into your comfort and relaxation.

Keep a foot in the door of work

“It’s all about balance” when it comes to checking in at work while on vacation, one expert told FOX Business. (iStock / iStock)

Even though you’re in the PTO, you’re still part of the team – and your contributions still matter.

Not only will checking in to your job ease your anxiety while you’re away from the office, it can also keep the project flowing in your absence.

“It’s all about balance,” Lauren Stemple, vice president of hiring for Betts West, told FOX Business.

“Prioritize your vacation so you can relax, rest and come back stronger and more productive.”

Betts is a nationwide technology and recruitment services company headquartered near Los Angeles, California.

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“It is helpful to check in to the office or your immediate team if there is anything urgent and let them know you are available in case something critical comes up,” she added.

Peek at your work email

Checking the smartphone next to the laptop

Checking email while on vacation may relieve stress in the future, as long as relaxation remains a priority during your vacation. (iStock / iStock)

Stempel recommends checking your inbox periodically while you’re away.

“This gives you the opportunity to clean up or save any unnecessary messages as they arrive, as well as flag important conversations for follow up once you’re back in the office,” she said.

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This short assignment can also help you manage stress when you return to work.

“The downside is making sure you’re still on vacation,” Stemple advised. “Prioritize your vacation so you can relax, rest and come back stronger and more productive.”

How (and how often) should you check in?

Stemple said when and how you check in depends on the length of your leave, as well as your role within the company.

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“I recommend checking in once or twice via Slack or via email with your manager and/or team and say hi,” she said.

When it comes to emails, she recommends checking email in the morning, before moving on to specific holiday activities.

Does the size of your company or job role matter?

If you work for a larger company, you probably have someone covering your tasks for you, Stempel said.

But if you own a startup or a small business, then fully covering your deal can be a little trickier.

“Your role is very important,” she added.

In sales, for example, you are responsible for your time and commissions, she said, so it’s important to log into the sales role — you don’t want to miss an opportunity.

How about getting completely off the grid?

Palm Island Beach Walk in South Carolina

One expert said rest and recharge are key to maintaining productivity levels. Check-in while on vacation can become a ‘slippery slope’. (iStock / iStock)

If your vacation plan is to disconnect and not check in at your job while on vacation—there are experts at your corner.

“First and foremost, comfort and recharge are one of the keys to maintaining high productivity levels,” Helen Segura, a productivity expert in San Antonio, Texas, told FOX Business.

She is also the author of The Great Escape: A Vacation Planner for Busy People Who Want to Take a Real Break from Work and Life.

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“If this does not happen while you are on vacation, it is doubtful that it will happen in the evenings and weekends when you are at home.”

Segura said that the more hours you work without fully recharging, the more your productivity, creativity, and problem-solving skills will deteriorate.

Once you open the door to connect with you through the job while you’re away, this can become a slippery slope.

Family picnic together in the woods

If you don’t relax while on vacation, it’s questionable to relax during weekends and evenings at home, says one expert. (iStock / iStock)

“If you set an expectation that you have no problem working while on vacation, there will be less hesitation in the future for your office to call you and expect responses outside of normal business hours,” Segura said.

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“Plus, if you solve everyone’s problems for them, they will never learn to think or act independently,” she added.

This means, she said, that “you will continue to be connected to everyone’s thinking until the day you separate from the company.”

There may be piles of work and administrative headaches when you return.

The decision to separate from your workshop while you are on vacation is a personal choice (and also depends on your position on the job).

If you feel like you can really relax and want a complete break from work, don’t check your email — and avoid the urge to communicate with your office.

Just remember the potential drawbacks of this decision.

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You’ll need to accept the realization that there may be piles of work and administrative headaches on your return – as well as potential resentment from co-workers who may have needed your help with something while you were away.

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