How to balance work and play on holiday

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Summertime for many of us means packing a stack of good books and heading off on the hallowed family holiday to somewhere sunny. But you know full well that it’s not that easy to simply switch off — the business certainly won’t, after all — and this can make holidays more stressful than being at work! With that in mind, we’ve put together the following guide to help business-minded holidaymakers get the most out of their trips.

Before you go…

Plan your time.
Your colleagues will appreciate your need for time off and understand that you won’t be as easy to get hold of. So before you go, agree on your “holiday working hours”: the hours during which you can be contacted (and the time difference for the location you’re holidaying in). This way, if employees or clients desperately need to reach you, they know when the best time to do so is.

Do your research.
Does the resort, villa or hotel you’re going to have Wi-Fi? And if so, where are the best places to attend online meetings or conference calls without background noise or interruption? Answering these questions before you travel will give you peace of mind and allow you to plan. If your destination doesn’t have Wi-Fi, contact your mobile phone provider to discuss options for staying connected while you’re out there. Or, reach out to the resort owner to see if you can use any on-site PCs to send and receive essential files (with a tool such as ShareFile to transfer them securely).

On the way…

Work in the airport.
Many business lounges at airports don’t allow children, so if you plan to access a lounge (and their free Wi-Fi), it’s worth checking beforehand if you can bring your family in. If you can, this would be the time and the place to send the last few emails/reminders of your soon-to-be “holiday working hours” schedule. If not, essential emails from your mobile might be your limit.

Work on the flight.
Another thing to consider before you go is the type of work you’ll be able to undertake on holiday. While proposals with tight deadlines might be a stretch, getting to grips with a new brief or analysing a piece of research might be the perfect thing to do on a sunlounger. With its in-flight entertainment to keep the family happy, the flight can also be the perfect place to catch up on your reading.

From this point onwards, taking calls might become a more difficult activity (especially if you’re switching time zones for some summer sun). Take advantage of team management software such as Podio to keep track of team activity and projects. You’ll be able to stay on top of what’s going on in the office without the need for phone calls and emails.

While you’re there…

Be disciplined.
Remember those “holiday working hours”? Now’s the time to enact those. Plan these around your family’s habits (see our flexible parenting post for more) so you can get the most out of your time. Early mornings when it’s cooler, late evenings when the kids are in bed or mid-afternoon siestas when all is (in theory) quiet — whatever time works for you, put it to good use.

Give yourself a break.
Putting a holiday work plan in place means you can get work done, but it also clarifies the fact (to your team and to you) that you should spend the majority of your time relaxing. The work you do when you return will be all the better for it, and you’ll get to spend quality time with family too.

Whilst everyone needs a break, we know that being able to get online offers peace of mind for many SMBs. For more ways to work remotely, check out our suite of products.

And if you have any other tips for working successfully whilst on holiday, please share them here!

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About the author

Andrew Millard is Senior International Marketing Director for the SaaS division of Citrix. He is a strong believer in flexible working, and is a champion of new technologies for smarter working. In his spare time Andrew enjoys cycling, fine wines, exploring Wales and taking his son camping. Connect with Andrew on Twitter and LinkedIn More blog posts by Andrew Millard ››
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