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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Vacation Time

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Vacation Time
Credit: Haveseen/Shutterstock

When it comes to their vacations, business leaders have a lot of regrets, new research shows.

The biggest mistake managers make with their vacations is taking too little time off, according to a study from OfficeTeam. Specifically, more than one-third of senior managers said not taking enough time off was their biggest vacation regret.

"Managers may be hesitant to take extended time off because they fear their absence will be a hardship on other staff," Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, said in a statement. "But a longer break can be a good opportunity to delegate projects to an employee who shows promise, to see how that person manages while you're away."

Not being able to get their mind off work, checking in with the office too much and not preparing or organizing their work before leaving were some of the other top mistakes business leaders said they made when they took their last vacation.

To help managers make the most of their vacation time, OfficeTeam offers five tips:

  • Time it right. Try to avoid scheduling vacations during busy periods. Make time-off requests early so others can plan ahead. Not sure how long of a break to take? Consider the length of your last vacation and whether or not you needed more time away to truly unwind.
  • Have a back-up plan. Determine who can handle your tasks and make decisions while you're out. Provide your stand-in with the necessary instructions and resources to get things done.
  • Spread the word. Let key contacts know when you'll be away and who has been assigned as your point person. Include the alternate contact's information on your voice mail and email notices.
  • Manage your calendar. Aim to keep your agenda open on the last few days before your vacation so you can focus on tying up loose ends. Also avoid scheduling too many meetings the day you return. This will give you time to check email, return calls and get updates from co-workers.
  • Set ground rules. Disconnect from work as much as possible when on vacation. Don't contact the office or look at your email unless it's necessary. If you must check in, set specific times you'll be available instead of being on call the entire time. The more you stay in touch with work, the less you'll be able to enjoy your break.

The study was based on surveys of more than 300 senior managers in the United States at companies with 20 or more employees.  

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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