The 5 Best Ways to Keep Afloat at Work While You’re on Holiday

Learn five ways to both work and unwind while you’re away, for those who still need to put in a few hours on holiday. Jason Downes has over 20 years of business experience and has been Managing Director of conference call service Powwownow since 2013. Below he delves into the bets 5 ways to keep your head above water while still enjoying the sunny beaches.

For those who can’t quite let go of the office while on holiday, there are still ways you can keep on top of your workload and still enjoy being away. With a bit of organisation and self-control, you can make the most of a holiday and return to work feeling refreshed.

A holiday should be something you look forward to – it’s a precious chance to relax, unwind, and spend time with loved ones. But sometimes, worrying about what’s going on back home can take over, leaving you feeling more stressed than you were before you left. These tips can help.

1. Create an epic handover

Putting in the effort to create a thorough handover is the best start to ensuring your holiday will run smoothly, no matter what happens while you’re away. It might take a few days to get everything in line, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

For your team…

Delegate responsibilities clearly, so you’re confident that everyone knows what you expect them to cover individually. To avoid things slipping through the net, it’s also key to ensure the whole team is clear on what everyone else’s responsibilities are.

Set up meetings with individual team members, so you can brief them in thoroughly and give them a chance to ask any questions before you leave.

Put everything in writing, so they can refer to your instructions in case of any confusion.

For everyone else…

Let your clients know you’re going away and tell them who they can contact in your absence.

Before you go, send an email to any relevant people outside your team outlining how you’ve organised your absence. This gives them a chance to speak to you about anything urgent before you leave, and lets them know what to do or who to speak to if there’s something they need while you’re gone.

Set up an out-of-office alert that reiterates your handover and outlines your communication availability (if you’ll be keeping up with emails, if you’ll be taking calls, if you’ll only be contactable in an emergency, etc.).

2. Prep your tech

Anyone who has worked remotely knows there’s nothing more frustrating than battling with a bad internet connection, missing files, and dodgy reception. Safeguard yourself from the stress by preparing.

If you know you’re going somewhere with limited connectivity, make sure your team is aware and ready to handle things in case of your complete absence.

Choosing the right technology is key to ensuring you can stay organised during your holiday. Certain things will allow you to carry out tasks efficiently:

Remote Wi-Fi: Ensures you’re able to access emails if your destination doesn’t have free or reliable internet.

Remote hard drive: Allows you to store and access important files and documents.

A separate laptop: Can be easier to use as you won’t be distracted by usual work bookmarks and documents.

Text messaging or chat platform: Tell your co-workers to text you rather than call you, so you can get back to them at a time that works for you.

3. Routine is everything

The only way you’ll truly be able to relax while you’re away is if you actually do switch off for most of the day. Designate certain periods for checking and responding to emails or taking calls.

Make sure it’s a time that’s convenient for you and whoever you’re on holiday with – it could be early in the morning when the kids are still asleep, or in the afternoon when your partner is relaxing.

Inform your employees about when you’ll be available and don’t bend the rules: set yourself a schedule and stick to it.

4. Control what’s incoming

Rather than opening your inbox to find a plethora of overwhelming emails, do your best to exercise control over how you’re contacted.

For those who really struggle to switch off, ask your co-workers to write a single email update at the end of the day, rather than sending ad hoc messages. This will let you keep tabs on what’s been going on, and who or what you might need to catch up with during your next ‘work’ period.

If you’re really using your holiday to escape, make it clear your co-workers should only email you when it’s incredibly important (and make sure they know what’s defined as ‘incredibly important’). Ask them to write an update and send it to you the day before you get back, so you can catch up quickly when you return to the office.

5. Remember: You’re not in the office

Just because you’ve committed to working while you’re on holiday, it doesn’t mean you should continue exactly as you would in the office.

Only commit to carrying out certain tasks, such as keeping on top of correspondence, answering important questions, and signing off major decisions. Time-consuming tasks, big projects, and day-to-day admin can wait until you return.


If you put in the preparation and exercise a bit of discipline, it’s easy to keep tabs on work and have a successful holiday at the same time. Organise your workload beforehand, be firm with your commitments, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

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