The Art of Vacation and Not Making Your Colleagues Insane


Staycation, flight to faraway lands, or a quick drive up the coast -- it's all the same to the folks who will be in the office. Here's the best way to go on vacation and not piss off the colleagues who will be covering for you:

Set them up for success:

Write detailed notes about every single project you're responsible for. Leave nothing to interpretation; answer every question before it is asked.

Place this document in a shared folder so everyone can access it. Tell them where it lives.
Designate who will cover which project, or ask your boss for guidance, re: coverage.

Review the notes with your coverage team.

Leave for vacation.

-Here's the hard part for most people:
-Do NOT check email.
-Do NOT text.
-Do NOT call.
-Step away from the phone.

Why is this so hard? Because this technological world makes it impossible to disconnect without feeling guilty. And some bosses want you to be available even on vacation. I say, "tough noogies" to that boss! Human beings need to rest and disconnect in order to feel recharged and excited again, about anything.

Here's another point for disconnecting. If you set up the team for success back at the office, then you owe it to them to stay away. It's confusing when someone on vaca starts answering emails. It sends a clear message that the vacationer really doesn't want to be away, she doesn't trust her colleagues and that the folks at the office should act as if she is just down the hall.

You may ask, "Why am I cc'd if they don't want me to answer?" The answer is simple. You need to be cc'd so you have the trail as reference for when you return to the office. Also, they do want you to answer! It's much easier for them to just ask you than to do the work themselves. But then it's annoying that you keep answering and now we have that Is she or Isn't she on vacation thang going on. And then you're resentful that you "can't even go away for a week!" I'm not saying it makes sense, but it's consistent over many clients and many years.

So do like they tell you on the plane. Put on your oxygen mask, lie back and get a massage. Or go on a hike. Or watch tv at home. Whatever your vacation choice is, honor it as the time for You. It'll be a gift to yourself and your colleagues.

Image by Olin Gilbert