Do Not Disturb
Summer is typically the time of year that many people choose to take time off and enjoy the simple things in life while working towards achieving a healthy work/life balance. Camping, boating, going on a road trip, or just enjoying time with family are all popular summer activities that give employees a chance to unplug and unwind. If a coworker takes vacation time to enjoy these simple summer pleasures, it is your responsibility to respect their time off by not telepressuring them to respond to calls, texts or emails (unless it is an absolute emergency). Telepressure can be described as feeling the need to respond to work texts, emails and calls while out of the office and it can ruin a relaxing vacation. This pressure can be so overwhelming that it even causes employees to forgo taking vacation time altogether. In fact, the belief that their company still expects them to work during their vacation time causes 25% of employees to skip taking time off according to Project: Time Off surveys.
Before contacting a vacationing coworker, who is simply trying to strike a balance between their personal and professional life, decide if your question or concern warrants a text, call or email by asking yourself the following questions:
Will they respond?
Consider if your coworker will receive or respond to your communication efforts, especially since summer vacations are often spent in areas with limited cell phone coverage. In addition, you may want to consider the possibility that they will turn their phone off to avoid unnecessary communication with work. After all, they are on vacation.
Can I handle it myself?
Too often, we choose to seek answers through text or email instead of stopping to consider how we can use our own knowledge and skills to problem solve. As questions arise, don’t immediately reach for your phone. Instead, take the opportunity to showcase your ability to problem solve.
Is there someone else I can ask?
After brainstorming ways that you can handle a situation yourself, you may find that your question or concern cannot be resolved without help from someone with a skill set similar to that of your vacationing coworker. If you are unable to get your question answered using the resources available to your position, reach out to coworkers in their department, or coworkers who have skill sets similar to theirs, for assistance.
Is it time sensitive?
Take a glance at the calendar before you get your phone out to text your coworker. If you have an issue that needs to be addressed before they are scheduled to return to work, you should contact them (but only after exhausting all of your other options). By simply looking at their return date you may find that the issue can indeed be put on hold until their return.
A work/life balance is hard to maintain, and even harder if you make the effort to schedule time off but are still being telepressured by coworkers throughout your vacation. Give vacationing coworkers the respect of asking yourself these questions before picking up your phone to contact them during their time off.