With summer in full swing, you probably have some vacations planned and are excited to get away from the stress of work. In the back of your mind, though, you’re probably worried about coming back to an overflowing inbox and a neverending list of people to respond to. So much for the initial excitement, huh?
According to a 2018 survey of over 4,3000 employees, a whopping 52% ended the year with unused vacation days due to heavy workloads and a fear of being let go. As far as those who do take time off, many report that they still make themselves available to work and email on vacation.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be like this. There are tips and hacks to managing email while taking time off, and none of them involve constantly checking your mail app on your smartphone throughout your holiday.
Send a heads-up
Before you leave, contact the people who you correspond with most and let them know the dates you’ll be gone. Be clear that you won’t be checking email during this time, and if there’s anything urgent, to indicate this in the subject line. In all other cases, ask them to save any messages until you return.
Create a strategic out-of-office message
A good out-of-office reply should state more than just the fact that you’re away. Items to include are:
- Your availability. Your away message should include the dates you are unavailable, as well as your return date. It might also be smart to set the day you promise to reply for a few days after you’re back at work to buy yourself some time.
- Someone else to contact while you’re away. Figure out who you can delegate correspondence before you leave and ask permission to include their email address and/or phone number. Don’t promise that they will immediately respond to your recipient.
- Set clear boundaries. If you’ll be checking email a couple of times a day, say so. If you’ll be completely offline, make that crystal clear. If desired, let people know that they are welcome to resend emails when you’re back in the office.
The most important thing is to stick to the plan you’ve set in your OOO message. The minute you respond to someone outside of the boundaries, it’s a slippery slope to responding to all of your emails.
Set a time frame for checking email
If you’re not going totally off the grid and absolutely have to check emails, set a time frame for checking email – and stick with it. You might use this time to send quick replies, categorize emails to the correct folder, or delegate.
Keep it quick, and only focus on the emails from important senders or information that is relevant to you. If it doesn’t seem “urgent”, trash or archive it.
Create a custom snooze folder for work emails
With SaneBox custom folders, you can “snooze” work emails while you’re on vacation, and the folder will hold onto those emails until you’re back. You can set your date and time to return, and your email server will restore those snoozed emails to your inbox. Remember that, at any time, you can go visit the emails in your snooze folder. But, please don’t. Instead, go have another mojito!
Pause your inbox
Want to really go off the map? To fully release yourself from the stress of your inbox, try our newest feature, SaneDoNotDisturb. When you turn the feature on, it will temporarily pause new emails from appearing in your inbox, and you’ll be free from distractions across anywhere you check email across all devices and platforms. When you’re ready, turn SaneDoNotDisturb off on your SaneBox dashboard, and all of the email you received will be ready for you when you’re back at the office.
Are you planning on setting boundaries with your inbox as you go off on your summer travels? Let us know your own tips and tricks by tweeting at us @SaneBox.