This is part of a 30 posts in 30 days series chronicling my first 30 days in my new role as President of Hanapin Marketing.
Friday was 2nd 2nd, a wonderful three-day weekend Hanapin gives its’ employees once a quarter. On past 2nd 2nds I, and others, have found a way to sneak in some work even though we are supposed to be relaxing. Two of the main reasons for this is that we manage PPC campaigns which require daily attention and our clients do not have the day off so there is a good chance Account Managers will hear from their contacts at least one of their accounts.
This 2nd 2nd was different for me. Mostly because I decided to make sure I enjoyed it in order to set an example for everyone else at Hanapin. It is okay, nah REQUIRED, that people take some time off to enjoy the world around them and refresh without feeling pressure to check in with work.
Part of that urge to work is external and part is internal. If I had to guess I’d say it was 75% internal, a feeling of having to work because other people are, and 25% external, client requests or something happening in an account.
This means that the 1 trick that will reduce 75% of the stress you feel to work on accounts on a holidays, vacations or sick days is to not let yourself feel like you have to work. Super easy, right? Riiight.
That said I personally have found a way to reduce the feeling of needing to work when there is no real external pressure to work. Here’s are the top 5 things I do:
1. Notify clients and co-workers I will be out and set an auto-responder.
2. Determine the top three things I will need to do when I am back in the office and block out time the first day I am back to handle them.
3. Leave my work laptop in a different room than I will spend most my time. (Physically separate myself from my work tools.)
4. Establish a means for emergency contact so I know that people will be able to reach me if they really want to. +1 if you make that means the cell phone number of the person you will spend most of your time with. He or she likely won’t be as obsessed with checking their phone as you will but will still have it on them.
5. Wait until you are back to send clients, co-workers, bosses emails that you will be anxious to hear back on. If you are really excited about a project and email the other 3 people involved about it right before you take off, you’ll likely be checking email just to see if they respond and get distracted by other emails while “just checking for an email from XXX”. (Not triple-X. If you are expecting an email from triple-X you should probably stare at your email until it comes through. The XXX from two sentences ago was just a placeholder for the name or names of the people you may be excited to hear back from.)
After following these, or your own guidelines for giving yourself permission to check out of work on a holiday, you still may get hit by the other 25% of the Out Of Office Stress. This is the external part that comes from a client needing something done. Step 1 above helps, letting them know you will be out, but if a client or boss requests something while you are out it is still typically best to respond directly, let them know when you will be back and ask them if you can get them what they need then. I find that more times than not they are empathetic and let you enjoy your time off.
If you are interested in reading all posts in this series you can start with post 1 about what I am focusing on as president of a PPC agency. The next post in this series is on how to be organized while staying flexible.