(By Curtis Peterson)
“Create an automated message (auto responder/away message) letting people know when exactly you will be out of the office and who to contact in your absence if they need assistance. Also be sure to let people know when you will reply to their email, text or phone call, or if and how they can reach you in case of an emergency, if appropriate“.
Balancing work and family is a daily struggle for many people, from entry-level employees to C-suite executives. But juggling the demands of family and friends with the demands of the office and/or customers over the holidays can become particularly tricky, and stressful — especially if you are unable to tune out work.
Even for those on paid time off, the siren call of the office can be hard to ignore – especially if you conduct business via a smartphone.
So what can you do to ensure that work and family are both being taken care of this holiday season, and reduce work-life holiday stress? Here are five simple business communication tips for enjoying the holidays.
1. Inform people of your plans.
Let everyone know your holiday schedule several days (or weeks) in advance. Let coworkers and customers know when you will be out of the office (days, times), not answering email or calls, and when you will be back at work.
2. Make time off actually time off.
If you are on paid time off, stay out of the office. Even if you are at home during the holidays, avoid the temptation to go into work or check in with the office. Your family will thank you.
3. Set up a detailed away message.
Create an automated message (auto responder/away message) letting people know when exactly you will be out of the office and who to contact in your absence if they need assistance. Also be sure to let people know when you will reply to their email, text or phone call, or if and how they can reach you in case of an emergency, if appropriate.
If you are required to work or respond to email while on vacation, let people know when and how to reach you — and avoid the temptation to respond during non-work hours or family time.
4. Remove the temptation.
Mute or delete your work email address from your smartphone. You can add it back after the holidays and it will re-synch.
5. Treat family time as family time.
Turn off your smartphone — and put it in a drawer (out of sight) — during meals and other family times. If you absolutely must check your work email during the holidays, designate a specific time each day to do so, as well as smartphone-free family times, when you put your smartphone away. Have your spouse and children do the same.
By using these techniques, you will be ready to tackle the holidays and enjoy family and friends and all that the holiday time has to offer!
Curtis Peterson has more than 20 years of experience managing information technology and carrier-scale data and packet voice communication networks. Peterson has been developing, launching and operating class 4 VoIP and customer-facing hosted PBX systems since 2002. Currently, he serves as the vice president of operations at RingCentral, a leading cloud communications platform for businesses in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.
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