When it comes to taking a vacation, many professionals feel guilty about leaving work, even when vacation days are provided. Taking a vacation can add extra stress, a raised eyebrow from your manager, and many times means working overtime to make up for what you missed while you were gone. So how can you feel better about using your vacation time?
Know your vacation policy. First of all, you need to know what your organization´s policy is for taking time off. Some companies have blackout dates when no vacations are allowed, and others go by the first-come, first-serve policy. Vacation policies can change from year to year, so check with your HR department about your company policy, just in case, before purchasing an airline ticket or a hotel room that isn´t refundable. Confirm everything with your supervisor as needed as well of course.
Check your calendar in advance. Once the vacation policy is clear, check your work calendar. Are there any work projects that you can´t miss? Would you be willing to be available by phone or email or would you rather totally disconnect? Decide what kind of a vacation experience you want and factor that into the dates you request. If your workload is always changing, think about what times of year or month you are less busy than others, and then request for your vacation days as far in advance as possible.
Get ahead before vacation. If you worry about having too much work to catch up on when coming back to work, do what you can to get ahead before you leave. Remind your team or manager that you will be on vacation and ask them for input on what tasks or projects you could get a head start on. You may find it helpful to create a list of your recurring monthly tasks along with a list of your current projects and determine what items will be urgent when you get back from vacation. Then, spend some extra time on those items before you leave.
Plan for the unexpected. If you deal with clients regularly or many people depend on you at work, put some thought into a plan for taking care of unexpected issues that may come up while you´re gone. For example, is there a coworker that you trust who could take calls from your clients while you are away? If you are a manager, is there a trusted employee who has leadership potential who could man any employee issues while you are away? At what point should someone contact you if there is an emergency at work? Open communication about these matters with your clients or coworkers will help you feel more comfortable and at ease while on vacation.