As Covid-19 loosens its grip on the world, consumers are booking flights and making reservations for long-overdue getaways. Even those with unrelenting work schedules are considering ways to get out of town. Can family harmony be maintained when work intervenes? A commitment to family time, coupled with the right digital solutions can spell success.
To prepare for our post-pandemic travels, Productivity Consultants Jan Lehman and Heather Cocozza, representing the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) www.napo.net, offer tips to help employees manage that delicate balance of work and play.
To Work or Not to Work – That is the question. As much as you’d like to get away, do you really want to divide your time between work and play? If your business allows you to split your time, begin by establishing priorities. “Be sure and pick the time of day that you do your very best work,” suggests Lehman. “When your energy is high, your brain is clear and you can crank out quality work at a higher rate.”
Creating Balance – Once you’ve established your priorities, and your family is on board, stick with the schedule. If you promise time to them, abide by that promise. “A working vacation is an excellent time to practice ‘bending time to your will,’ explains Cocozza. “Create a sensible schedule that will enable you to have a balance of work and play, ensuring that you don’t give either short shrift.”
Employing Digital Tools of the Trade – Use technology to manage incoming calls and emails. Plan ahead for a work colleague to handle all but the most critical issues that arise, including email and phone calls. And “Ask your cell phone provider about enabling or purchasing your own coded internet connection or hot spot,” suggests Lehman. “That way you can ensure the security and confidentiality of your client’s digital information. Also, keep in mind any time differences and try to anticipate potential work emergencies.”
There’s an App for That – Just in case you lack internet access where you’re going, download work-related apps before you leave including expense reports and forms that you can keep online and fill out while you’re away — ready to submit upon your return. Lehman suggests using apps that let you go paperless: ToDoist, Evernote or Microsoft ToDo or OneNote for all tasks and notes. Scan in your paper notes, and use the Tiny Scanner app for receipts, then toss the paper.
Home Tweet Home – If you’ve been working from home due to the pandemic, your clients may be used to your availability 24/7. To manage their expectations, alert your clients and colleagues ahead of time that you’ll be away, and clearly define the parameters of your availability during this period.
Check it Out – If you’re traveling with carry-on luggage that houses your laptop and features embedded chargers, make sure in advance that your airline allows these on board and /or that those power sources are easily removable.
Making “Me” Time – Book time for yourself. It’s not a working vacation if you don’t do any vacationing! Cocozza advises you to “build in time to do something fun!” Try to schedule one activity or time period each day to relax and enjoy your surroundings with your travel friends or family. That way, you can return to work, recharged and ready to go.