Balancing work and family is a daily struggle for many workers, from entry-level employees to highly paid executives. But juggling the demands of family and friends with the demands of the office and/or customers over the holidays can become particularly tricky, and stressful – especially if workers are unable to tune out work.
Monica Visconti-Patel, Director of EMEA and Marketing at RingCentral, gives out some very useful business communication tips to make sure your break for the office is just that.
With the holiday season lurching towards us, many an employee will be vacating their workplace to spend some time doing something else, whether that’s staying at home with the children, visiting parents and relatives or leaving on a jet plane to more tropical climes than dreary old England.
The threat of interruption, however, still lingers over even the best of us with that dreaded phone call from that particularly needy client who, quite frankly, needs to call back in January. Avoiding all this has huge benefits for us, our families, and our friends and means that upon your return to work, you will actually feel like you had a holiday. That is unless you have a toddler because then work is paradise by comparison to anywhere with that chaotic bundle of destruction around!
Even for those on paid time off, the siren call of the office can be hard to ignore, especially if they conduct business via a smartphone.
So what can employees do to ensure that work and family are both being taken care of this holiday season, and reduce work-life holiday stress? Here are six simple business communication tips for enjoying the holidays.
1. Communicate holiday schedules
Let everyone know your holiday schedule several days, or even weeks, in advance. Let coworkers and customers know the days and times when you will be out of the office not answering email or calls, and when you will be back at work.
2. Switch off
Make your time off – actually time off. If you are on paid annual leave, stay out of the office. Even if you are at home during the holidays, avoid the temptation to go into work or check in with the office. Your family will be grateful.
3. Turn on your out of office
Set up a detailed Out of Office email message. Create an automated message, such as an auto responder or away message, letting people know when exactly you will be out of the office and who to contact in your absence if they need assistance. If you’re not sure how to do that in Microsoft Outlook you can go here for some tips or in Gmail go here. Also be sure to let people know when you will reply to their email, text, or phone call, or if and how they can reach you in case of an emergency, if appropriate.
4. Be clear about what you will do
If you are required to work or respond to email while on vacation, let people know when and how to reach you, and avoid the temptation to respond during non-work hours or family time.
5. Mute your work emails
Mute or delete your work email address from your smartphone. For example on the iPhone you can mute incoming emails by going to Settings, followed by New Email and then switching to None. And if you want to stop email notifications in Gmail you can press the Menu button, then select Settings, and uncheck email notifications. You can add it back after the holidays and it will re-sync. This will ensure that you aren’t constantly distracted and checking your smartphone.
6. Turn off your phone
Turn off your smartphone and put it out of sight during meals and other family times! If you absolutely must check your work email during the holidays, designate a specific time each day to do so, as well as smartphone-free family times, when you put your smartphone away. Have your spouse and children do the same.
By using these simple techniques, you will be ready to enjoy family, friends and all that the holiday time has to offer!