Just checking my office emails, dear


Are you someone who knows that although you shouldn’t, you will be checking work emails while you’re on holiday? Many of us act as if our colleagues will have a really hard time without our constant availability, and that without us something might happen which will make everyone’s lives harder for months afterwards. So for the sake of a few minutes a day checking emails on the smartphone, we could save so much heartache, right?

However, the reason we remain plugged in to the office is that – whisper it – we think we’re more indispensable than we really are. We say that we can’t relax fully on holiday unless we know everything’s OK back at work (and that may even be true for some people). But we know that things will probably be fine without us, and in truth, we’re a little bit obsessed with our job. Even our customers accept that for a few weeks a year, someone will be filling in, and service might not be quite as efficient.

What we need to know is not that our attention is needed, but that it’s not needed.

This summer, I’m making arrangements to ensure this happens. Somebody will be checking my emails from time to time, as ever, and if something needs my attention while I’m away, they’ll “star” the email as such. Whenever I wish, I can see on my smartphone if there are any starred emails – without going into my email account. This will work for me, and who knows, I may even relax for once. There are many other ways of achieving the same result, but the principle remains the same. Find a method of being confident that you’re not needed without getting dragged back into your working environment.

Or just be a more chilled-out person in the first place, I suppose.

2 thoughts on “Just checking my office emails, dear”

  1. I will be checking my emails whilst on holiday for two reasons. One: clear out the non-important stuff (trade newsletters and junk) so I don’t have 500+ emails when I get back. Two: to send any customer emails to my colleagues – without any actioning on my part, just pass it on. I understand your alternative is a good plan, and would love to be able to action it that way – but my colleagues are generally too busy to remember to check my email as well, and I’m not high enough up the food chain to have my own assistant. And as it’s a 3 week holiday, I really don’t want to have to spend all of my first day back clearing out my emails – a little bit every other day is preferable, I have had to face that first day lost before, in the old days before I had remote access!

  2. So true and when put into context this is just tip of the iceberg. One day most small business owners plan to be negotiating the sale of their business. To avoid ridiculous earn outs, stage payments etc. and to maximise the price, the vendor has to demonstrate the value of the business and the skills of it’s management team without it’s owner. Start planning an exit strategy as soon as you can!

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