Need to Work While You’re on Vacation? These 5 Tips Make it Stress-Free!

By Chelsea Babin

Relaxation, rejuvenation, real fun—all of these words describe the typical American’s vacation. Unfortunately, another word is increasingly associated with vacations: work. Sometimes working while on vacation is an inescapable reality. If you have to do it, follow these 5 tips to make working while on vacation as stress-free as possible so you can get back you your relaxation and fun as soon as possible!

1. Only Do What You Have to Do: The whole point of taking time off is to reap the benefits of time away from work. When you take that work with you, time off is less effective and won’t give you the rejuvenation or productivity boost that it’s designed to give. Because of this, it’s essential that you only do the work on vacation that absolutely needs to get done. Sometimes there are urgent projects or decisions that need to be made during your week at the beach, that’s fine, but don’t get swept up in a video conference that has nothing to do with you when your toes should be firmly planted in the sand. Making a list of 5-10 must-dos and sticking to only those while you’re away will help limit the time you spend working on your vacation.

2. Consider Internet Access: If you need internet access for the work you do, consider this when you’re making your travel itinerary. Relying on Wi-Fi from your hotel or the local Starbucks may seem like all you need, but if those connections fail during the time you’ve set aside to work, what will you do? Either adopt a let it go attitude or bring a wireless hotspot with you for those work emergencies.

3. Limit Your Work Hours: Make sure you’re not working too many hours or too sporadically while you’re on vacation. Setting strict, short work hours will help you plan around fun activities and will set boundaries so that your coworkers know when you’ll be contributing and when you’ll be away. Don’t let these lines be blurred or, before you know it, your vacation will be over and you’ll realize you spent the whole time tied to your work!

4. Get Things Done Ahead of Time: Preparation is the key to a great vacation. Typically you’ll know well in advance when you’re taking a vacation so use this extra time to plan ahead and get as much of your work done in advance. This will relieve you of added stress during your vacation and may even get you off the hook for working on vacation entirely! Do your best to accomplish as many tasks ahead of time as you can so that your workload on vacation is light or nonexistent.

5. Determine Your Accessibility: Will you be available all day by email? Will you be available by phone only in emergencies? Determining your accessibility and communicating it with your coworkers before you leave will let you control how often work can creep into your vacation. Like scheduling your work hours, it’s best to schedule your times of accessibility so that it is minimal and doesn’t distract you from the fun you have planned. At the same time, if you’re expecting a big development or emergency, let your coworkers know a reliable way they can reach you.

No one wants to work on their vacation but sometimes it’s unavoidable. When it is, use these 5 tips to make sure work doesn’t overtake your vacation and render its positive qualities useless. Have a great vacation and make sure you take some time for relaxation, rejuvenation, and real fun!