Career Advice, Watercooler

The Dos and Don’ts of Working on Vacation

In today’s hyperconnected world, it can seem impossible to unplug and shut off our devices, even when on vacation. New Glassdoor research reveals 2 in 3 Americans (66 percent) report working on vacation, despite the fact that the average U.S. employee has only taken about half (54 percent) of his or her eligible vacation time/paid time off.

While many contend that our inability to unplug is the problem, perhaps the issue is balancing work and play. If you don’t relax and enjoy your hard-earned vacay, chances are you are going to burn out. However, leaving email unattended for a week while messages pile up can induce a professional panic attack.

Before jetting off for some summer R&R, check out these dos and don’ts of working on vacation.


Do be proactive before your vacation by discussing a backup plan with your manager. Be prepared with several ideas about who can do what responsibilities while you are away.

Do craft a helpful “Out of Office” reply. Make sure that those who email you while you’re on vacation have resources and access to someone else on your team who can help in your absence.

Do set aside time to check emails while you’re away, if you must. 20 minutes max. Just read and instead of getting sucked into the minutia of every message, only respond to the urgent messages.


Don’t spend hours on your laptop. Even if you’re poolside, a laptop kills the vibe. If an idea or to-do pops into your head, jot it down in a handy notebook or the notes app on your phone, then handle it later.

Don’t brag on vacation. Instagram and Snapchat your beach bliss but steer clear of taunting hashtags like #SoGladImNotAtWork and #NeverGoingBack. It’s poor form. Plus, unless you’ve hit the lotto, odds are that you are, in fact, going back to work.

Don’t talk about work. Try hard to leave work worries and coworker complaints back at the office. Grab a margarita instead. No one likes a Debbie/Devin Downer.

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