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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

Going on Vacation? 5 Ways to Make a Clean Break

Going on Vacation? 5 Ways to Make a Clean Break
Credit: Maxim Safronov/Shutterstock

While many executives will be taking some vacation time this summer, they won't be getting as much of a break from the office as might be expected.

Nearly 70 percent of company leaders connect with their office at least once a week while on summer vacation, up 20 percentage points from just three years ago, according to a new study from the staffing firm Robert Half Management Resources.

The research shows that roughly 32 percent of executives will manage to have a clean break from work while on vacation, down from 51 percent in 2012.

While there are a ton of demands that require many to stay in touch while out of the office, the key for company leaders is finding the right balance, said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. [11 Tech Gadgets for Your Working Vacation ]

"Before checking in with the office, executives should ask themselves if it's necessary, or if they are doing so when they should be relaxing and enjoying their time away from work," McDonald said in a statement.

It is also important that company leaders set a good example for the rest of their staff, according to McDonald.

"Employees understand executives will need to check in from outside the office from time to time," he said. "However, if professionals see senior managers overdoing it and feel pressured to constantly be connected themselves, they may start looking for opportunities offering greater work-life balance."

Robert Half Management Resources offers a five-step checklist for breaking away from work while on vacation:

  • Clear expectations: Tell your staff how often, and when, you plan to check in. This will make it less likely for them to try and get in touch with you outside of those times.
  • Give out more responsibility:Your vacation is a good opportunity for you to give more responsibility to someone you are preparing for an expanded role within the company. Make them your point person for handling larger assignments while you're out and list them as your out-of-office contact.
  • Trust your staff: Don't micromanage everything when you're gone. While there may be some items that require your attention, let your team handle as much as possible when you're out.
  • Be smart about when you come back: Make sure your return to the office is well planned. For example, don't schedule your trip so tightly that you're going straight from a red-eye flight to the office.
  • Ease back into work: Set aside time when you get back from vacation to respond to messages and catch up on any unresolved issues. Also, don't schedule too many meetings for your first couple of days back in the office.

The study was based ontelephone interviews with more than 2,200 chief financial officers from a random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

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.