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Can a Remote Worker Truly Take a Vacation? and A Cautionary Zoom Tale

by Mary Isner / June 3, 2021

Finally! We are starting to return to normalcy in many ways, and more people are returning to the office. I think one of the more interesting outcomes of the pandemic is that many workplaces have realized that their employees do not need to be in the office full-time. Because of this, many people are returning to hybrid offices or becoming full-time teleworkers. No matter where you fall with your office arrangement, these friendly pointers from Miss Telework Manners may be helpful to you. In this installment, I offer solutions to two additional challenges you may be facing during these times. Happy reading!

Can A Remote Worker Truly Unplug?

Dear Miss Telework Manners: I have been working remotely since last March, and it has been working so well that my company plans to keep it that way. Now that things are starting to return to normal, I would like to take a vacation this summer. My concern is that I will not be able to truly take a vacation. Since I became a remote worker, I feel like I can never completely unplug from my work. I don’t feel like I have the down time I had when I worked in the office. I work hard and I want to be able to recharge, but I see myself sitting on the beach talking to my boss about a project. How can I avoid that?

-- I NEED a Vacation  

Dear Need a Vacation:

What a great and timely question! I know that even people who work in a traditional office struggle with this, but it is especially hard for us teleworkers. Everyone deserves a vacation (a real, non-working vacation). Here are my tips to make a peaceful vacation easier to come by:

  •  Plan ahead. Wrap up as much work as possible before you head out, and come to a good stopping point on any work that cannot be wrapped up.
  • Give advance warning. Inform your colleagues weeks before you head out so that they can also plan ahead.
  • Set an out of office reply on your email and Let people know that you are out on vacation and when you will be returning to the office. If you work closely with someone else, direct any urgent messages to that person while you are out. If your workplace uses instant messaging, update your status to on vacation.
  • Put your phone away. This is the hardest one for most people, but it is the most essential. Stop looking at your phone. If you absolutely must, set up a time each day to check your work messages - but just once, and then let it go!

Hope this helps! Bon voyage!

A Cautionary Videoconferencing Tale

Dear Miss Telework Manners: I have really done it now! I am sharing my story so that I may be able to save someone from making the same mistake I did, and also to see if you have any advice to help me smooth over this situation. This is really a doozy. I was on mute on a Zoom yesterday and thought that I clicked to turn off my camera to answer the phone. Unfortunately, I clicked the audio button instead, which turned mute off unbeknownst to me. I proceeded to answer the phone and said to my husband, “Good Lord, will this damn Zoom meeting ever end?" It was a meeting with the head of my company. What on earth can I do now to make this even a little better?

 -- Clicked the Wrong Button

 Dear Clicked:

Oh wow…that is quite the pickle you are in. Let this be a lesson to you, dear readers. Always be mindful when you are clicking on buttons while on a videoconference! Let’s hope that your boss has a good sense of humor. I think over time (perhaps a long time), you will also be able to laugh at your snafu. For now, I would recommend taking responsibility and humbly apologizing to your boss for the mistake. Then, try to drop it and move on. Who knows - maybe your boss will completely understand…after all, who hasn’t said something under their breath about a never-ending videoconference? Hope this helps. Good luck to you!

I hope you have found this week’s tips both helpful and enjoyable. Here’s wishing everyone a productive and healthy work environment, wherever that may be! Be safe and well, everyone!

Tags: Telework

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Mary Isner

Mary Isner

Mary has a master’s degree in public administration and has worked as a facility planning analyst for Fentress since 2003. In her free time, she enjoys baking, decorating, and spending time with her family.