The Need for Digital Vacations

I’ll admit it- I have a problem. I’ve become so accustomed to checking my email, social media, and text messages that I’ve been on autopilot. I’ve been recently catching myself mindlessly unlocking my phone every couple of minutes to check if I missed something. Did my phone beep to indicate a new alert had come through? No. It’s just become the norm in my life. More often than not, I have my head down, focusing on some form of computer screen or smart phone. My brain is constantly working, multitasking virtual discussions and networking. Suddenly, it’s July and I don’t even know what I’ve done in my physical life that was significant. And then I was struck by a term I heard on #Tchat last week – the “digital vacation.”

I was curious. Needless to say, between managing multiple social media profiles, staying consistent with my personal brand, blogging, researching, networking, and creating and implementing social media training for my company and clients- I’m starting to feel a little burnt out. I love this industry and all the things I’ve been able to come in contact with because of social media and digital options but if I see (or even write) one more buzzword, my brain might spontaneously combust. As I got involved in social media, I realized that this is a lifestyle. You need to be present and consistent, otherwise you’ll potentially never make an impact. Over a year of doing this non-stop, and I’m a bit spent.

Then I learned about the digital vacation. As I learned more about the details of this, I started to see more people in my social circles participating in it. How can someone just take a break from this? How can you unplug without putting yourself completely behind? Apparently, it’s not as hard as I initially thought. Here were some suggestions from the wonderful contributors in #Tchat:

  • Set expectations: Inform your networks that you will be taking a digital vacation and that you will be unavailable. This can prevent them from contacting you with something pressing that you can’t ignore.
  • Utilize your tools: there are so many great tools out there that allows you to schedule posts to go out on specific days at certain times. I utilize Hootsuite pretty often when it comes to this. Even if you aren’t physically present on your social media, scheduling posts to go out while you’re on vacation can allow you to maintain your consistency.
  • Create boundaries: find ways to ensure your phone and computer aren’t tempting. Turn off alerts that come to your phone for that week or set a boundary for how much time (or what set hours) you can use your devices.
  • Have a responsible person on your team: the world doesn’t stop turning just because you’re unavailable, and thanks to technology, this is even truer. If your social media and digital presence is especially important (i.e. you are a business, consultant, etc.), have at least one person monitoring that and contacting you ASAP if anything dire happens that requires your attention. Knowing you have this safeguard can make you feel more confident about taking this break.
  • Relax: Need I say more?

I didn’t realize how much my digital life had taken over my regular life until I caught myself clutching onto my phone like a lifeline, terrified that I’d miss something major. I realized that it’s ok to take that break, especially if I don’t want to make my love for this industry turn into something that feels like a suffocating obligation. I appreciate all the tips about taking a digital vacation and I’m going to be trying this very soon.

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Are Your Employees Using their Vacation Time?

A few months ago, I had written a posting in regard to promoting a healthy-work life balance within the workplace. I went over the general idea of why it was important to promote this balance and the negative consequences that can occur if you do not create a culture that encourages that. Part of having that balance is making your employees take time off as needed, whether it is for a sick day or just a mental break to recuperate. Recently, the Director of Public Relations from Compliance and Safety, Matthew Pelletier, had reached out to me. He showed me an interesting infograph  that discussed the fact that many American workers don’t take personal and vacation time that they are awarded. This has sparked today’s blog post: are your employees using their vacation time?

This infograph showed that many workers did not take their vacation time, if they were even offered any by their employer. But if employees have this time to take for themselves, why aren’t they? Studies have concluded that there are several reasons why:

  • Fear for job stability: many employees worry about job stability in the shaky economy. They fear that their employers will see that they really don’t have a need for them.
  • Fear for their work ethic: once again, many employees are worried about how their work ethic is viewed by their employers in this economy. Many fear that if they take time off for vacation or sick time, that their employers will believe that they are not as dedicated to their work as other employees. Additionally, they fear that they will get backlash from peers for “slacking off.”
  • Lack of money: many employees do not have the disposable income they once had and therefore feel like it is a waste to take time off without having the means to actually go anywhere.
  • Backlog issues: employees worry that leaving work for a few days will cause a work backlog that can actually cause them more stress than not taking the vacation at all.
  • Workaholic syndrome: technology has bred many workaholics and have caused workers to always be accessible and working 24/7. Many employees can’t force themselves to unplug enough to enjoy a vacation.

It is important for your employees to take time, as they see fit. If they do not have this work/life balance, stress will decrease productivity and happiness; and increase sickness and absenteeism. It is more beneficial to have your employees take time off than to have them work straight through. As managers and leaders, you must set an example for your employees before negative situations occur. Take vacations yourself, promote the importance of taking time off, and encourage them to do so even if it’s a day to relax at home here or there. It will create a positive culture and workforce.

More related articles:

Why Aren’t You Taking Your Vacation Time?

Inc: Do Your Employees Skip Vacation Time? Don’t let them

Photo Source

Why American’s are Afraid to take Vacation

Compliance and Safety Infograph