Should You Work While on Vacation?

Now that many employees are working away from their teams, workers are expected to answer phone calls and emails, as well as take care of small to large tasks, away from the office.

This has led to people working more. It’s also led to a question for remote workers and office warriors alike: Should you work while on vacation?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a criminal defense attorney or a freelance photographer, you might feel guilty taking a vacation, and you might not be able to escape screens when you finally do take one. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is different for every situation.

We will tackle this dilemma in two parts: (1) Why you should work and (2) why you shouldn’t. We will also discuss how you can successfully work while on vacation.

Reasons to work while on vacation

Even if you’re a commercial walk-in cooler supplier in Lawrence, MI, you might have to take business calls on the beach. Here are some reasons why you might decide to work while on vacation.

  • You fear the backlash that you might receive from fellow employees and managers.
  • You have too much work and don’t want to get behind.
  • You love your job, it keeps you grounded, and you can’t imagine taking a day off from it.
  • Not only will you have downtime to get ahead or work on a passion project, but you might be more creative if your scenery and atmosphere changes.
  • If you’re a freelancer or don’t have full-time employment, then you might not get paid time off. So if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

Reasons you shouldn’t work while on vacation

Vacations are designed for you to enjoy your time away from the office, whether in a remote setting or not. While there are many reasons why you shouldn’t work while on vacation, here are a few that tend to be universal.

  • If you’re constantly working, then you will burn out. Burnout could lead to, for starters, stress, and “physical and emotional exhaustion.”
  • You don’t have the time to put in quality work because you’re on vacation. You might not even have WiFi.
  • You’re taking time off to be on vacation, not work. You earned your PTO (Paid time off).
  • Time away from work can lead to you feeling refreshed (and more productive) when you come back to work.
  • Juggling work with friends, family, and vacation outings can stress you out.

Successfully work on vacation by…

Everyone’s situation is different. Whether you have PTO or not, you might have to do work while on vacation. If you have to, then here’s how you can successfully do it.

Schedule work when nothing is going on. This might be early in the morning before people wake up, or in the afternoon/night when everyone is resting.

Don’t be on your phone when you don’t have to be. You might have to check emails, but set limits. Be in the moment and enjoy the present by only working during your scheduled time blocks.

Communicate with your family and friends. This will help to set boundaries and let people know when not to disturb you.

Only work on things that have to be done. Prioritize your work. You deserve to be on vacation and enjoy your time off, so don’t do projects that can be done when you get back.

It would also help if your travel is well-planned. You may book accommodations, airport shuttle or airport transportation services, car rentals, etc. in advance.

In a perfect world, people wouldn’t have to work while on vacation. Unfortunately, not everyone can fully disconnect during their travels, but we hope the information above can help alleviate the stress that accompanies having to work while on vacation. For the people who don’t have to work while on a trip (and the folks who do), we hope you enjoy your time not having to worry about everyday tasks and meetings.