Vacation time is an important part of any job. While it may seem like I’m stating the obvious when I say that, more than half of the U.S. workforce didn’t use all of their vacation time in 2017. In fact, the U.S. workforce forfeited more than 200 million vacation days that year. Days that didn’t roll over and were valued at a collective $62.6 billion in lost benefits.
That’s a lot of time, and a lot of money. What gives?
I certainly can’t speak for all 160 million people in the U.S. workforce… But from conversations I’ve had with fellow PR pros, I’ve often heard they are reluctant to take vacations because of workload or feelings of guilt while they’re out of office. While these are common reasons to not take a vacation, we all need a break sometimes to prevent career burnout. Here are a few ways you can stay on top of the job while you kick back and enjoy some well-deserved time off.
In pretty much all areas of your career (or maybe life, for that matter), one of the best things you can be is prepared. If you decide you are going to take a specific week off in a couple months, take inventory of your projects as that time is approaching. A lot of the work we do as communicators is dynamic, with details emerging and plans changing almost constantly. Being mindful of where you’re at with a project and what will be needed in the near future will help you stay on top of it and plan for your time off.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
If you’re going to be out of office, remember to set up your automatic replies/out of office message so those who email you know you’re on vacation. You can take this a step further by listing contacts for certain projects, if your colleagues are willing to serve as points of contact. Many people list at least one point of contact (If your matter is urgent, please contact X…), but you can get more specific and list a few possible points of contact for various projects. That can make things more efficient for the person contacting you. This brings us to our next point…
Let People Know!
This goes beyond letting your colleagues know. If you’re in an agency setting, perhaps let your client know you are going to be out of office at a certain time, but that you’ve arranged for your (very qualified, attentive and experienced) colleague to take the reins in your absence. The same could go in a corporate setting for your internal clients, such as department chairs or directors, as those relationships in the corporate world are similar. This gives your clients someone to turn to while you’re gone so they aren’t left hanging if a need arises.
These are just a few of many ways you can set yourself up for an awesome vacation. Whether you use these tips, or you come up with your own, remember to take some time for you and enjoy your time off. You’ve earned it!