As the vacation season approaches, many of you will be faced with the perinial dilemma of whether or to put your inbox on vacation too. This article reviews the pros and cons and of having an inbox vacation. It looks at ways to pack (and unpack) your inbox properly so that you don’t drown in an email tsunami on your return. It shows you how to have a really email free vacation, setting a safe Out of Office Message what to do if you feel you really must log-in whilst away.
Published in Executive Secretary Magazine March 2017
It’s that time of year, many of us are either on or planning a vacation. The perpetual question is whether or not to have an email free vacation.
We found that 80% said that dealing with the holiday email overload is one of the most stressful aspects of having a vacation. More stressful even than loosing your passport. Hence why they did not dare have an email detox. As stress and mental health rises up the corporate agenda, the reasons for disconnecting are ever more pressing to preserve our well-being.
Organisations have adopted many ways to lessen the holiday email overload effect from an ‘Out of Office’ messages asking you to re-send the email when the other person is back to adopting an email free vacation charter. But what if your company has no such policy? Here are the top ten actions you can take by yourself to have an email free vacation and reduce the holiday email overload mountain.
Pack the inbox properly
The email free vacation
Unpack the inbox on your return
Do you have any tips to share about dealing with the email free vacation challenge? There is a free copy of either Brilliant Email or Taking Control of Your Inbox for the best response. Email us your suggestions by 10 August.
About to take a few days out of the office? Here are give top tips to avoid coming back to a chronic attack of business email overload.
You should just be left with emails needing attention on your return. You could be bold and move these too into a folder ‘awaiting action’. Now you have an empty inbox. How does that feel? To keep the inbox clean and de-cluttered see item 4.
Now go off and relax safe in the knowledge that you have taken adequate precautions to reduce a chronic attack of business email overload.
Not surprisingly most articles which have caught our attention relate to the challenge of whether or not to disconnect whilst on holiday. Here are a few which should give you food for thought about why and how to go for an email detox and disconnect.
And just in case you are careless with your Out of Office message.
So before you take your vacation, be sure to set a safe and simple Out of Office message which discloses as little information as possible. Then switch off and have a proper break to re-charge the batteries.
This time of year sparks the age old debate about whether you should or shouldn’t stay connected to email when on leave. Recent studies have confirmed that email is the biggest drain on business people’s performance. So when it comes to holidays, those concerned with their own well being or that of their employees – should shout ‘Get a life’, disconnect as we all need time to discharge and recharge our batteries properly.
Last year Daimler introduced an email programme which automatically deletes all employees’ emails whilst they are on leave. Digital detox holidays are now on offer. When you arrive at your hotel you can elect to have all Wi-Fi connections disconnected. In the USA some psychiatrists have now suggested that internet addiction should be treated as a psychiatric disorder.
Technology alone will not cure email overload despite some software providers claims. The real cure lies in changing our email behaviour. It is about re-thinking how we use email and curing what has become the hidden disease of 21st century working life – email addiction. It’s about learning how to use and manage our time and accept that it is OK to disconnect.
Even without such support, we can all self-impose other strategies including an email black-out. This will help while we are away and when we come back from leave. The benefit of your time away from the office it is vital to learn to how to wean yourself off your email/internet fix. If you can stop logging on or taking calls, you will relax more quickly and your friends and family will appreciate your undivided attention. You and they are worth it!
If you find it hard to disconnect then at least limit the distractions.