OOO (Out-of-Office) Habits For Staying Unplugged From Work During Vacation

Do you ever unplug? If you’re like many Americans, your answer is probably, “Not entirely.” However, remaining connected to work ironically can lead to a higher degree of burnout and mistake-making on the job. 

How can you truly cut the cord in today’s digital age? It admittedly can prove challenging — after all, nearly everyone has access to their work network at their fingertips via their phones. However, if you want to supercharge your productivity, protecting your downtime is vital. Here’s how. 

1. Catch up realistically before leaving 

Even though you have a holiday planned, you’re still only one person with the same 24 hours in a day as anyone else. That said, it makes sense to knock at as much as you can before you hit the proverbial pike. Consult with your immediate supervisor and review potential problems you identified that your colleagues might need to handle in your absence. Present them with a game plan for doing so — this action shows initiative and looks positive at performance review time. 

2. Make friends with airplane mode 

You might not think twice about zipping off photos of yourself lounging beachside, but what you perceive as innocent sharing can lead to trouble. Seventy-nine percent of organizations have written email policies prohibiting certain types of social media posts, so just be careful about what you’re posting so that work troubles don’t end up distracting you during your time away.

Nearly every device has an airplane mode function. Turn it on, and voilá — you’re disconnected from the internet. Besides, you shouldn’t post your vacation photos on social media while you’re away, anyway. Doing so rolls out the welcome mat for thieves who now know your house stands empty. 

3. Set a solid OOO auto-response email 

If you work in a client-facing role, the customers you help don’t have crystal balls. They won’t know why you haven’t responded unless you alert them with an OOO email auto-response. Craft this carefully so that you can comfortably enjoy your downtime. 

Your response should contain the following three vital pieces of information:

  • How long you will be away: Your clients need to know when they can anticipate a response. 
  • The date you intend to return: It’s a wise idea to remind folks that you will answer their correspondence in the order that you receive it. That way, if you’re returning at 8:00 a.m. on February 28, they don’t expect a response by 8:05. 
  • Whom to contact in your absence: Depending on your role, your customers might need to contact someone else. They’ll feel less put out if you provide that information instead of making them navigate sometimes frustrating automated phone systems. 

4. Delegate as much as possible 

You know you’re a whiz at what you do — but it’s highly unlikely that no one else could do your job. As much as possible, delegate some tasks so that you don’t return to an overflowing desk. Can a co-worker return the majority of your phone calls and emails? If so, ask, with the promise of a swap when it’s their turn for some OOO R&R. 

5. Keep all but your cellphone at home 

Finally, even hotels that cater to business travelers can present frustrations when it comes time to plug in your tablet and your computer. However, do you genuinely need those items? Unless you’re a travel writer — in which case, you’re not truly on vacation — chances are, you won’t need to type. Nearly all hotels provide pens and paper for jotting down notes. 

Leave your devices at home — that way, thieves don’t target them, and you don’t feel tempted to log in just for a few minutes. 

Unplug while you’re away to perform better on the clock

Everyone needs time to relax and recharge. Boost your productivity by shutting off from work on your next holiday!

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