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emails on vacation

 
#1 emails on vacation
13/07/2015 22:05

tommys

Hello All - I've got a bad habit of checking my emails whilst on vacation and even responding.....does anyone else have this habit too?

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#2 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 08:38

Frio to tommys (#1)

I prefer to either check or not check my emails when on holiday.

If I'm going to spend time stressing about what might be happening with work when on holiday I will ask my team or my boss to text me advising me that I should check my emails from person x. This is for when they really need me and not just because it's easier for them.

I don't tend to get disturbed very often and I know that I'm not going to go back to the office facing a disaster.

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#3 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 09:18

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Frio (#2)

"I will ask my team or my boss to text me advising me that I should check my emails from person x"

But does that not lead to you anxiously stressing out over whether you're going to receive that dreaded text message any minute just as you're tucking into your pool-side brunch?

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#4 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 11:53

Phil to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

Personally I find less stressful checking my e-mail for half an hour a day and making sure I remain on top of things than having to go through 1,000 messages and potential issues the first day I am back from holidays.

Two main rules for me are:

- Checking e-mail and giving short replies if necessary, does not have to translate into doing actual work (ie. yes to providing my view / give an information to the team, no to opening ppt or excel)

- Confine the half an hour to a specific time of the day. It does not have to turn into constantly looking at the phone

If on a busy period of the project, I also tend to let the team know beforehand if there are some days where I am unlikely to have access to my emails at all

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#5 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 12:52

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Phil (#4)

0.5 hours/day x 5 weeks of vacation per year (25 working days) = 12.5 hours = almost 2 working days.

No way I is giving up the equivalent of 2 days of holiday per year (especially if it's split into 30 min chunks) innit.

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#6 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 12:54

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Phil (#4)

I also tend to let the team know beforehand if there are some days where I am unlikely to have access to my emails at all

Yes, that's exactly what I do. I advise them that the period starts at the start of my time off and ends at the end of it.

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#7 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 16:03

Phil to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#5)

Why not introducing a badge system that tracks the number of hours spent on Fridays at the office bumming around then?

Honestly, I am sorry but this is not a 9-5 job, with its pros and cons. I never see anybody complaining about team events where probably more than the entire entertainment budget of a mid-size organisation is spent or getting too picky about leaving the office after lunchtime if on the bench or making twice the money of an average 20/30-something working in industry. Sadly this means that sometimes you may have to do a bit more than what would be expected of you in other work environments, like staying a bit longer after 5pm or quickly checking your e-mail while on holidays to make sure a project is still on track. Is it really such a big deal?

Trust me, I am not some sort of crazy guy that enjoys working until midnight every day - I try to manage my hours and the ones of my team as effectively as possible and to make sure that they rest properly, get time off and all of that. However I really don't get all this emphasis, almost pride, in pointing out that we should all leave at 5pm and don't give a damn about our company while on our siesta. Can't there a middle ground between being a workaholic and counting minutes until 5pm like you work at Dunder Mifflin?

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#8 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 17:44

Anon MCs to Phil (#7)

Sorry BEP but I agree with Phil.

We all get paid very well for what we do (ie go and chat to a Nurse or a Teacher to find out how many hours they work hard vs the pay home they get) and you'll understand where Phil and I are coming from.

Did Phil really mean "exactly 30mins every single day" while on hols is spent on work emails?

No off course not, he meant that sometimes its a quick 5mins check while at others you do spend 20mins writing a quick update which you know will save the boys in the office a bucket load of time as you have the info needed.

Plus I agree with him, when you come back to the office, you know the basics of what has happened and can get on with things a bit more. It feels less stressful when I come back.

Everyone has their own way of coping, Phil's way or mine above are not right for everyone but I think its reasonable that while on hols, I will have a cheeky look at my mails here and there and will action if I deem important enough (eg I am in the bedroom ready to go for dinner, wife is in the shower. Instead of finishing reading my book, I'll have a quick look at the emails. Thats the kind of thing we mean)

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#9 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 17:54

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Anon MCs (#8)

OK, but I would advise watching out for letting it creep too much into your lives. Being disciplined about your work hours is not incompatible with doing a good job and caring about your work. We all know how a "quick peek" on the Blackberry can quickly turn into "engaged in extensive dialogue by email". You reply to one email, they'll send you another five.

Also, watch out for developing anxiety. I know the feeling of dread one gets when returning to the office to 50,000 unread emails. But I also really don't like the idea of stepping out of the plane with my bermuda shorts on and hearing the phone bleep only to hear that some dweeb of a client is having a meltdown and wants to drag me into it. I'd rather keep my stress reserved for work hours, otherwise it's a quick route to developing IBS.

Remember, YOUR client is your employer. "THE" client is is your employer's client. The "deal" you have with your employer is the one that matters the most. And I would ask, if you're giving "your" client (the employer" all these extra freebies in terms of time and commitment, what are you getting back in return? We've all heard of "company man" who uncerimoniously gets the chop after 40 years of hard work and commitment - don't be that guy!

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#10 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 20:10

Jack Black to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#9)

It's an interesting topic. Recently the CEO on the account I am currently working on (I say 'CEO', he's basically the top guy in a legal entity wholly owned and answerable to the parent company - still, he has 150ish staff underneath him) sent out an email stating how we should handle emails when on holiday. I went along the lines of...

"I do not expect you to check emails when you are on holiday. Breaks are very important, time to recharge etc..."

He then went on to give an example of an out of office which could be used...

"I am out the office with no access to emails. All emails between dates xxx and xxx will be deleted on my return - please contact xxx while I am out the office, of speak to me when I am back."

Of course he sent this email when he was on holiday (kinda lessens the message he was hoping to get across), and then joined a call on a Friday morning. So he's certainly not practicing what he preaches.

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#11 RE: emails on vacation
14/07/2015 20:19

Jack Black to Phil (#7)

We are paid extra because we add value, not because we are willing to check emails at the weekend, at least that is my take.

My contract of employment has statements in such as:

"You are not eligible to overtime"

"You do not get paid to travel to client sites" - yet I am expected to get up at 5am to get there on time.

Things are often stacked in favour of one party, and it is rarely the employee.

I check my emails when I am away - I don't mind, but I can certainly see why some people do not want to. Our employers are not doing us some massive favour by paying us well, if anything it is the other way round judging by the rates they can charge. It's important to remember that.

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#12 RE: emails on vacation
15/07/2015 01:19

Zama to tommys (#1)

Some musings:

It depends on your general firm-wide/departmental responsibilities and input levels to your current project. If you're managing a (long term) project or workstream then it may be unavoidable. More preferably (levels of sadism not withstanding), you should be able to manage the expectations of your colleagues and clients such that a holiday email response would not be expected.

Personally, I do tend to check emails on holiday, but only to ensure that I have a core ~10 to re-read when I return, rather than ~1000, and I make it clear to my team that they can call my (personal) phone if there is someting they can't do without my input on.

I have no issue with a gentle roll on from team members returning from holiday and taking the first half a day cleaning their inboxes and reclimatising, even in the middle of a project. Each to their own.

If there is a topic or piece of work where you are indispensible (trust me, this is highly unlikely) then make sure you are contactable especially if there is a lot of £ riding on the work over short timeframes (to be honest, in that sort of situation you'd only be on holiday due to bad management or unavoidable personal circumstances).

Finally, depending on your standing within your firm there may be an expectation that you check and respond to your emails to ensure that partner-level colleagues are able to reach you for business development. Bear in mind that it is far better to let them know you are going to be unreachable than to leave them in radio silence.

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#13 RE: emails on vacation
15/07/2015 13:30

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to Jack Black (#10)

"I am out the office with no access to emails. All emails between dates xxx and xxx will be deleted on my return - please contact xxx while I am out the office, of speak to me when I am back."

Hehe, clever mr ceo, i like his style!

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#14 RE: emails on vacation
15/07/2015 13:45

Frio to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#13)

"I am out the office with no access to emails. All emails between dates xxx and xxx will be deleted on my return - please contact xxx while I am out the office, of speak to me when I am back."

Hehe, clever mr ceo, i like his style!

As a CEO, surely he has an EA/PA that will monitor his emails and make him aware of what he needs to know when he's back from holiday?

On a related note, I used to work for ACN - after nearly getting burnt out and moving to a different project I moved to a project where the MD had more of a BEP type approach. He came into the office just after 8am and left at 17:30. I agreed with him that I would not check emails in the evenings, so if something happened that he needed me on he would call me. In 14 months he called me in the evening 3 or 4 times.

He supported me when I needed to work flexibly, I loved working for him and smashed it during my working hours. It was probably the most enjoyable portion of my working life and the account was known to be successful and a great place to work. Previous to him joining the exact was true and the team worked much longer hours.

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#15 RE: emails on vacation
21/08/2015 10:19

ZoeRPM to tommys (#1)

No and it annoys me when people who are meant to be resting keep checking email unless there's some important reason for receiving a message, e.g. news of someone in hospital.

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#16 RE: emails on vacation
06/01/2016 12:02

Frio to ZoeRPM (#15)

I've changed my position on this - I saw members of my team responding constantly to emails whilst they were on holiday and asked them not to. They were responding to non-urgent emails just to make it look like they were still connected.

To set a good example and to demonstrate it's acceptable (and also for selfish reasons) - for my last two holidays, I told my entire team that I would be completely un-contactable during my holiday, set-up proper escalation routes if something went wrong, got the backing from those escalation point of contacts. I went away for 3 weeks, I left my laptop at home, and I turned my phone off until the Sunday evening prior to my first Monday back to see where I needed to be on Monday morning.

I came back to work fully refreshed and did the exact same thing over the Christmas break.

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#17 RE: emails on vacation
06/01/2016 15:12

marsday to Frio (#16)

I've changed my position on this - I saw members of my team responding constantly to emails whilst they were on holiday and asked them not to. They were responding to non-urgent emails just to make it look like they were still connected.

To set a good example and to demonstrate it's acceptable (and also for selfish reasons) - for my last two holidays, I told my entire team that I would be completely un-contactable during my holiday, set-up proper escalation routes if something went wrong, got the backing from those escalation point of contacts. I went away for 3 weeks, I left my laptop at home, and I turned my phone off until the Sunday evening prior to my first Monday back to see where I needed to be on Monday morning.

I came back to work fully refreshed and did the exact same thing over the Christmas break.

+ 1

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#18 RE: emails on vacation
06/01/2016 16:09

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#17)

I'd like to have a "Rick Astley" button on my phone. If somebody calls me when I'm on holiday, I'd simply press the "Rick Astley" button and it would play "Never gonna give you up" to them.

There's a reason it's called "holiday".

"A day on which one is exempt from work". NOT "A day on which one is exempt from work but is expected to be on email all the time".

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