Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Tips for a vacation being a vacation

    Posted 04-22-2022 03:53 PM
    A recent conversation sparked this topic, and I am interested to see what others have to say about it. It can sometimes be a challenge to actually "leave work at work" on a daily basis, and it can be extra difficult when you are on vacation supposed to be relaxing or focusing on personal matters.

    What are your personal practices or tips for time away form work really being time away?
    This could relate to email away messages, phone call policy, communication with coworkers beforehand, ways to mentally disconnect while away, etc.


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    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
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  • 2.  RE: Tips for a vacation being a vacation

    Posted 23 days ago
    I'd agree that a good plan before leaving is critical. If people are used to coming to you for help on tasks, they will either likely get a lot less done while you are gone or need to know who else to talk to. If there is nobody else available, writing out suggested steps or goals to accomplish will help a lot, because depending on the task, you might be able to fill in the missing pieces yourself when you get back.

    At the risk of being contrary, there are a few coworkers who I will always reply to, even on vacation (as long as I have service). My thoughts on this have always been "if I like my job, and like these people, then it is not a burden to reply." This is the case for things that can be answered off the top of my head, and do not involve work that I cannot do while away. Personally, the act of helping someone out with something simple doesn't ruin my "vacation immersion".  "Work Chris" and "Vacation Chris" do not exist as two separate entities. I go on vacations so I get to see somewhere new, or take part in a hobby I enjoy. I don't go on vacations to "escape work". (If that were the case, I would need a new job.) So for those reasons, I usually don't mind a few work messages, particularly from a few people I really like working with. And as for the people who you might not like? You can always ignore the message. After all, you're on vacation!

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 3.  RE: Tips for a vacation being a vacation

    Posted 22 days ago
    I like your differentiation between things you can just answer and things that require work in order to give input.
    Maybe part of the upfront communication could be telling those you work with that you will answer the first kind and the second can wait or be redirected to someone else.

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    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK
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  • 4.  RE: Tips for a vacation being a vacation

    Posted 13 days ago
    Two information security tips while you are out of the office. The first is to not put your email address or phone number - or those for others - in your automatic out of office reply. The approach I followed was to identify an individual who was to be contacted in my absence if the need arose and to provide general guidance on how to find. An example being their contact details can be found in the company's global address list or they can be contacted at xyz company with maybe the central telephone number. The second is to be ambiguous about your whereabouts. You don't want to say that you will be on vacation or traveling. It's better to simply say that you are out of the office. These tips will not prevent nefarious behavior but can help mitigate. Finally a piece of advice my first supervisor gave me about vacations was that you needed to be ruthless in 1) planning the time off and and 2) following through. If you don't block off the time and make the commitment you will never take a vacation. Likewise, when ready to start the time off you can't be made to feel guilty about your plans or you will end up compromising the planned time off. No one is indispensable.

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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