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To Unplug or Not Unplug

With summer vacations just around the corner, it’s time to ask the ever-important work-life balance question: Should I completely refrain from reading or writing email while I’m away from the office?

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, disconnecting from your work isn’t as easy as just packing a bag and setting up your “out of office” message, especially when only 14% of managers and seven percent of senior managers refrain from emailing their team back home while they are away.

If you’re an employee trying to take some much-needed time off, this can either create the feeling of obligation to check your messages while you’re gone, or an overflowing inbox when you return.

For management, this can create an unwritten rule to never fully disengage from the office, which can wreak havoc on company culture and morale.

Dedication to your work is important, and it can be quite tempting to just send, or respond to, a “quick” email. But taking time to unwind and recharge is equally as important, and will ultimately make you a better, more engaged employee when you’re at work.

Need a simple way to implement a no-email on vacation policy? Try auto manufacturer Daimler’s “Mail on Holiday” model.

Emailing a vacationing Daimler employee will get you this response: “This person’s on vacation, so we’ve deleted your email. This person will never see the email you just sent. You can email back in a couple of weeks, or you can email someone else.”

For more on “unplugging” while on vacation, read “Emailing While You’re on Vacation Is a Quick Way to Ruin Company Culture” in Harvard Business Review.

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