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December 3, 2018 By Jen Mathews

Five E-Mail Management Strategies for Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

December 3, 2018

By Jen Mathews

Read More from Jen Mathews

December 3, 2018

Five E-Mail Management Strategies for Work-Life Balance During the Holidays

By Jen Mathews
Senior Public Relations Manager

Technology has made it easy for us to work from anywhere — even the in-laws house during the holidays. And while work may be a great excuse to avoid any undesirable topics of conversation around the coffee table, we don’t want to be tied to our devices during the holiday. The line between work and play is being blurred by 24/7 emails, instant messages and mobile phone calls. Whether its dealing with a demanding boss or our own FOMO, unplugging at this time of year requires a strategy.

recent survey from the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) confirms what most of us already know: people are staying increasingly connected to work — even when they are out-of-office (OOO). According to the ILM survey, 65 percent of respondents admitted to checking work emails while on vacation, and 75 percent said they have taken or made a work call while on leave.

To reduce stress and add balance to your life, here are five strategies for better managing your communication tools so that they don’t manage you during the holidays:

1. Turn off email notifications, and ask colleagues not to cc you on routine matters. The ILM also advises that you consider not checking work email at all during time-off. “If someone needs you urgently, they’ll call you,” says the ILM report.

2. Don’t initiate emails or phone calls to colleagues or clients. While you can certainly provide an “in case of emergency” phone number, initiating work-related communications invites people to contact you. If you really want to switch-off during the holidays, don’t send mixed signals to colleagues, clients and bosses.

3. Use email auto responders and your voice mail greeting to let people know you’re OOO. Remember, the value of technology depends on how you use it. Most email clients and phone systems make it really easy to set-up auto-reply and out-of-office greetings.

4. Overcome FOMO by making sure that colleagues and clients know when you’re going to be taking time-off. If you really can’t allow yourself to unplug, at least try not to get caught-up in work. “Some people may find the stress of being disconnected from work while they’re on holiday is actually more stressful than keeping an eye on what’s going on,” says Kate Cooper, the ILM’s head of research, policy and standards. The bottom line is to find a balance that works for you.

5. Plan time in your schedule to “catch up” when you are back on-the-clock so that you don’t have to worry about work while you’re away. So give yourself plenty of time after taking a break to get back into work-mode.

That’s it! A combination of advance planning and some simple technology tools can help you achieve a better work-life balance during the holidays, and that’s sure to make you happier and more productive — whether you are at work or at play.

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