Checking-in or checking-out?

Summertime brings with it many wonderful things, including the all-important family vacation.  We’re all busy people, and there are definitely times when it would be nice to unplug completely and get away from work entirely.

DanMatt Media is a family-owned and operated business, and we are a service-based provider.  We don’t manufacture or produce any products, which means we have to be available to our clients when they need us.  I’ll admit, with two young children my wife and I don’t take many family vacations, but I do travel multiple times each year for work.  Additionally, I typically play in two or three out-of-state golf tournaments each year.  With advances in technology (smartphones, wifi on airplanes, etc) it has become very easy to stay plugged into work even when you can’t be in your office.  But is that a good thing?

You can approach this argument from both sides.  On the one hand, everyone needs to step away from work and decompress from time to time.  No doubt about it, that’s just healthy for us.  And vacations are an ideal time to unwind and get away from the pressure and difficulty associated with business.  But on the other hand, if you are a service-based company like we are, you need to make sure that your clients are well taken care-of, and that their needs are met even when you cannot physically be in your office.  You wouldn’t want the emails to pile up and go unanswered, and you certainly wouldn’t want a crisis to spring up and not be handled properly and expediently.

My solution is to check-in for an hour or two every day when I’m out of the office.  That way I can make sure that our clients are receiving the high level of service that they have come to expect from us, and I can stay on top of any issues or problems that may arise when I’m gone.  By limiting my time to an hour or two a day, I can still enjoy my “time off” and decompress, without the worry that I’m too far out of the loop.

That’s what works best for me.  How do you handle time away from the office?