Have you ever taken a vacation only to find yourself bombarded with emails on your return? Or, have you ever felt the need to keep checking your email when you should have been enjoying your time off? 24/7 connectivity is a blessing and a curse… and when it comes to our desire to relax, it’s definitely a curse. Here’s something a lot of employers might be hesitant to tell you: vacation is necessary, and not only because it’s important to give our loved ones the gift of our time; it’s also because it helps how we show up to work. Time-off, when effectively unplugged, allows us to come back feeling refreshed and motivated, which is a win-win for both companies and its employees.

So how do we unplug completely without having the stress of coming back to a full email inbox and millions of requests? It comes down to 8 easy steps:

1. Assign Tasks: Determine any tasks or items for which you will need coverage. Assign team members that would be the most appropriate to handle those tasks while you’re out of the office.

2. Educate your Team: Make sure your team has all the information they need to complete those tasks while you are out of the office.

3. Choose an Email Strategy: How do you want to receive emails or updates while you are out of the office? Do you want one email a day summarizing any updates or open items? Just one at the end of your vacation?

4. Schedule Debrief Meetings: Make sure to schedule debrief meetings ahead of time with anyone who was tasked with summarizing any updates and compiling emails for your email strategy.

5. Let Others Know the Game Plan: Let others know your email strategy while you are out of the office. This way, when they go to send you an email, they don’t need to get your out-of-office auto-response; they already know who to go to for help with tasks.

6. Unsubscribe: Unsubscribe from any marketing emails that you do not need.

7. Set up an Automated Out-of-Office Email: Just in case someone was unaware or forgot the strategy while you were out, set up your autoresponder to send a gentle reminder.

8. Enjoy Your Vacation: This is the easiest step –enjoy your time unplugged!

If you’d like to see an more in-depth explanation of any of these steps, check out the video below: