According to healthsystemCIO.com’s July Snap Survey, while many CIOs took time off to vacation this summer, 90 percent admitted to not being truly disconnected. How has your summer gone? If you vacationed, were you truly away or were you always checking in at work?
For me as a recruiter, summer is always challenging because it is hard to schedule interviews and visits between clients and candidates around their vacations. Nevertheless, I understand how important it is for all professionals to get out of the office, and encourage you to do so. Smart phones and smart tablets are everywhere and so there is no escape, but hopefully your vacation is in an out-of-the-way place so it allows some disconnection. If not, you can simply turn off the devices for events and dinners, or when friends and families come to visit. If you need to work while others are visiting, set aside designated time and give your guests ideas of places to go and things to do.
Another piece of advice as you head out of the office: Make it clear what your summer status is. Some of my contacts get back to me quickly even while they’re out, while others take weeks, which can mean a potential missed career opportunity. If you’re like me, you check your email during time off and respond to important items.
It’s also a good idea, of course, to leave a clear email auto-response message. Here are two simple out-of-office messages I received recently:
- “I am out of the office until Wednesday, July 31st. Thank you.”
- “I will be out of the office until Monday, July 29th, and will have only limited access to email. Please contact ________ or ________ if you need immediate assistance.”
While the first message is okay, it leaves your contacts wondering what to do in your absence. The second message is more helpful since it at least gives them direction should they really wish to get information or send you an urgent message. Google “out of office messages” if you want some ideas for good ones.
Finally, be sure to keep your vacations a priority when you’re a finalist or are getting a job offer. It is a great opportunity to negotiate your vacation time and perhaps the only time you can ask for a specific number of weeks to be included in your compensation package. If you value time off and your request is within reason, most employers will honor your wishes.
Another important request will be to negotiate for paid time off for already committed future vacation/travel plans, weddings or graduations in the upcoming year.
Remember, summer is short, so be sure to use your vacation time wisely. It is a headache to come back to tons of emails and voice mails, but your family and your sanity are at stake, so get away and enjoy!