Although leaving it all behind on the deserted island you dreamed of all year is appealing, you don’t want to carry that nagging feeling of shirking while you tan on the beach. But is there a way to really drop your digital devices and get away without expecting your company to burn down in your absence? CEO Brian Scudamore of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and Ashley MacDonald, owner of The Tasty Spoon gelateria in Austin offer some advice.
Scudamore advises “Going dark feels uncomfortable at first because you’re literally going into withdrawal. As a culture, we’re addicted to the thrill of social media ‘likes’ and the endless flow of information at our fingertips. But if people don’t disconnect, they compromise their productivity and happiness. A digital detox is absolutely necessary to work-life balance,“ Although many feel they can’t fully immerse themselves in their vacations, you can come really close when you empower problem-solving in your team.
If you really must touch your laptop or smartphone, schedule a daily appointment for checking email with a distinct beginning and end time, with the understanding that you are only monitoring, not solving problems. Remember, the only problems you should be solving on vacation is what wine to pair with dinner or whether or not hang gliding is for you.
McDonald offers the recommendation of making a manager a point person of contact for the people on vacation and the power to act in worst-case-scenarios. This includes funneling email that would normally land in your inbox to the person who will actually be solving the problems. “Highlight the need for your staff to cultivate problem-solving skills,” says MacDonald. “When you finally depart for vacation, actually disconnect. Try to remember that if you can’t actually affect a situation or problem, there is no use stressing over it. Enjoy the break.”
When it’s your turn to unplug take a little time to be sure enough bases are covered and enjoy the stress-free vacation employee empowerment for problems solving can offer. Save your phone for selfies, not emails.