By Jim Wong, CPA | June 29, 2016

“Vacations are necessities, not luxuries.” –Linda Bloom

It’s that time of year again—when we start seeing fewer people at work and more “out of office” replies popping up. The start of summer and vacation season is officially upon us.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 98 percent of employers offer paid time off to employees. Whether professionals choose to take full advantage of these free days during the summer or not, one thing is certain, many professionals take a least some vacation days away from the office to spend time with their family and friends.

Even though much-needed rest and relaxation sounds like a wonderful experience after many months of hard work, there are accounting, finance and IT professionals who admit it is difficult to step away from their workloads and completely unplug. However, research shows there are health benefits involved with doing so.

Why not allow yourself to fully enjoy your vacation?

I’ve written about this topic before and it bears repeating, especially after reading a recent article on Forbes that discusses how you should ease your mind in order to make the most out of your paid vacation time. I’ve taken a few of their tips and added a few suggestions of my own in the 4 Ways to Allow Yourself to Recharge While on Vacation.

1. Start planning early. 
One of the most important steps when it comes to preparing for a vacation is just that—preparing for vacation. This article suggests that those who are going on vacation should begin to prepare a list of everything that he/she needs to do before leaving. Unfortunately, too many people forget this step and wait until a few days before, which results in confusion and unnecessary stress.

2. Cross things off of your to-do list. 
While preparing a list of tasks or projects to complete before your time off of work, use that preparation time to cross off a few tasks that have been on your list for a while. Before undertaking a huge time consuming project, you’ll want to look at the smaller projects—can you complete them before vacation? If so, cross off those little items and call them quick wins. Focus on what needs to get done and how long it will take you. You’ll be happy they’re done once you return to the office.

3. Discuss a communication strategy before you hit the beach. 
This is an important one—you’ll want to work with your managers and leaders to devise a schedule for when you’ll be accessible by phone or email, if you decide you want to be accessible on vacation at all. One suggestion is to set up a 15-minute timeframe wherein a colleague can call you with any urgent questions. The main point that the writer stresses though, is that setting up a plan before getting to the beach or pool is key; this ensures that your family and friends know how much time you’ll be spending away from them with work concerns.

4. Develop good vacation karma. 
This is a helpful bit of information when it comes to making sure things run smoothly back at the office while you’re enjoying your time in the sun. If you have a strong team at the office, you’ll be more likely to relax. Instead of worrying constantly during hard-earned time off, utilize a diligent group of colleagues who you can trust to keep things on track even when you’re not there.

These are only a few of the tips for checking out of the office during a vacation. Do you have any other suggestions? Comment below and let us know!

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