Preparing for a Stress-Free Vacation From Work

By Robert Half on November 27, 2016 at 8:00pm

If you’re like many accounting professionals, you have spreadsheets, financial reporting requirements and year-end accruals dancing in your head. Indeed, just because it’s not “busy season” doesn’t mean you’re not busy — too busy to take a vacation from work, you might add.

But that can be short-sighted. A vacation from work allows you to recharge your physical and emotional batteries, disconnect from everyday concerns, and return to work rested and refreshed. A vacation from work is a far more appropriate place for that scuba gear than at your office desk.

Think of it this way: According to our research, accounting and finance professionals rank lower than all the other sectors in the area of work-life balance. Whether you’re a manager or part of a team, you can lead by example in the way you take your next vacation from work and unplug while you’re away.

Read Robert Half’s new e-book, IT'S TIME WE ALL WORK HAPPY.®

So, how can you take off without climbing the walls when you return to work? Here are six tips for making your next vacation from work a huge success:

1. Start planning for a vacation from work

First of all, put that vacation from work on the calendar, whether you’d like to take time off during the holidays or during another part of the year. Make a list of everything that needs to be handled and issues that might arise in your absence. Start this process early so you are confident you’re not leaving anyone in a lurch.

2. Ask for help from colleagues

Ask co-workers to handle your projects while you’re away, and offer to do the same for them when you return. Meet with those who will be filling in for you to alert them to upcoming tasks and deadlines. Explain processes and procedures, and make sure they know where key files are kept. Simply put: Delegate.

3. Consider temporary staffing

If you cannot find staff to cover you or your workload is too heavy for your team to handle, consider working with a specialized staffing firm to bring in temporary accounting professionals. These workers can keep things running smoothly while you and your coworkers take a much-deserved vacation from work.

4. Give the gift of good email maintenance

Cleaning out your inbox and setting up “out-of-office” email notifications is important. But is there anything you can do to prevent the mountain of post-vacation email?

Most email programs have a function that allows you to create “rules” for filtering your messages. For example, you may designate daily IT updates to the Deleted Items folder, because the content will be irrelevant by the time you return. Or you might set up rules that direct emails from certain contacts to the people who will be covering for you.

5. Clean your desk

Make sure you clean your desk before you leave so you can hit the ground running when you return. There’s a symbolic purpose to doing this, especially if you do it early. A clean desk can help you shift out of work mode before you leave.

6. Unplug — or not

This might be the most important tip: Give yourself the ability to truly relax by unplugging. If you must check in, provide specific times that you’ll be available, and limit your accessibility to those times.

Don’t be like the 38 per cent of Canadian workers in a recent survey who said they take skip or take shorter vacations because they’re concerned about their workload upon return.

Think of your vacation as a mandatory break, and be sure to block off some time when you get back for catching up. With the right preparation, you can return feeling more energized, ready to tackle tough projects and prepared to take advantage of any opportunities that may emerge in the coming year.

Read more of the findings in the Accountemps survey about how people view their time off work.

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