Family Time is Workish Time

Originally intended for relaxing with family while playing on the beach, vacations have been repurposed into multitasking with family while working on the beach. Just because you’re on holiday, work doesn’t stop: and resisting the urge to give your office-mates proof of life by sneaking onto a conference call will eventually become futile.

Consider the numbers: over 50% of North American employees don’t take even take paid time off, while 84% of those same workers claim they can’t go a single day without their wireless devices. To prevent burnout, employers are mandating R&R, though staff members are finding new ways to balance work with play to maintain an even unhealthier sense of work/life imbalance.

Life’s too short, and as the duo Family Day / President’s Day long weekends wind-up, book that last-minute vacation and get outside. After all: down time is for thinking, dreaming, and cleaning-up your database.

Set the Table

Before you leave on your long-awaited break from work, remind your travel mates that breathing space from the company is for shutting down, going with the flow, and obsessively searching for Wi-Fi hot spots. If they press you to unplug, invite them to a feedback session during your pre-arranged office hours, centrally located in the hotel atrium where there’s this comfy couch near a wall outlet that nobody knows about. Earth’s breathtaking miracles of nature are not to be missed; neither is Keith’s update re: Tuesday closures in Parking Lot D.

Schedule Your Auto-Response

In a modern-day battlefield where no sales quarter is given, email auto-responses for absentee multitaskers require a careful blend of vague anecdotes and irrelevant details, allowing you to selectively respond to messages at-will. Here’s an example [feel free to tweak the location]:

Subject: Vacation response delay

Email auto-response copy: Greetings and thanks for your email! As you’re reading this, I’m on the beach celebrating my son’s 5th birthday. For years, he’s dreamed of snorkeling in Kauai where they filmed “Jurassic Park,” so my wife and I “spared no expense” and booked the trip. LOL!

If your matter is urgent, please call my cell at [INSERT CELL]. I’ll be at the Grand Hyatt through Thursday morning. If my cell goes to voice mail, please call the front desk and page a bellhop named TONY. Not just any bellhop, PAGE TONY. The snorkel trip is booked for Tuesday, but Tony seems pretty cool about switching it up.

Oh, and by the way…I love referrals!

Book Travel Through Your Work Email

Vacationing corporate workers escape the job by routing air, hotel and ground reservations through their personal emails. Instead, direct plans through your company address to simultaneously retrieve that Avis confirmation number while scanning emails for subject lines labeled “Signed contract: attached!” While family members absorb a striking sunset in the Canadian Rockies, stay productive on the dock by rapid-swiping through recurring emails and group calendar holds before departing that unforgettable tour of Lake Minnewanka.

Get Cozy in the Business Center

Hotel business centers, home to modern-day workaholics and eloping couples who still use Flickr, are decorated with weathered desks, torn swivel chairs, and printers featuring No Paper. They really don’t serve any purpose except to provide you with a counterproductive Workish environment ready-made to gaze at particle board and plan your next fun-filled vacation.

Bring Your Office

While packing chargers for your computer, mobile device, banker’s lamp, etc., take things a step further by stowing a baker’s dozen of back-up Mophies so you can whimsically peek at logo tweaks while whitewater rafting down the Colorado. Or, while spelunking, cave to your addiction of double-checking spreadsheets by bundling a second monitor in a waterproof rucksack. If possible, ferry part of your actual cubicle wall…most airlines accommodate for oversized golf bags, which can now include whiteboards labeled “Q3: DO NOT ERASE.”

And if you’re reading this while on vacation, might want to give your inbox a quick look: Carol just scheduled an org-chart review for later this afternoon. Looks like you’re on PTO, but if you’re busy, maybe Tony can join.