Unplugging in a Remote World

All around the globe, we’re experiencing the lasting impacts of Covid-19 on our personal and professional lives. Making small talk, attending social gatherings, traveling, going to restaurants, and, of course, working, are just some of the behaviors that seem to have permanently changed. With regard to the latter, many of us have shifted to a remote-first approach.

As remote work has become the new normal, the lines between performing our daily duties and enjoying disconnected, personal time have grown blurry, often with little to no separation. Our new way of working makes us—and our projects—readily accessible, so it’s no surprise that many struggle to truly disconnect, especially when our machines are just a glance away.

Taking paid time off is a great way to rest, recharge, and prevent burnout. But if your Slack notifications keep coming and there are no out-of-office automations set up, can you truly unplug and allow yourself the relaxation you need and deserve? Setting boundaries is not always easy, and proper boundaries can look different for different people, so we’ve rounded up some tips to help you disconnect and recuperate in a meaningful way during your time off as we head into the holiday season.

1. Set up automated out-of-office replies.

Most of us already know this one, but setting up automated out-of-office replies is a good place to start. These replies will let people know you’re unavailable, so they don’t expect an immediate response. You can set these up in advance and indicate the appropriate start and end dates, along with the message you’d like sent to those trying to get in touch. You may wish to consider including an alternate contact in your message in case urgent help is needed.

Pro tip: A week or so before your time off, consider adding your upcoming vacation dates to your email signature. This will help give your professional community a heads up that you’ll be unavailable.

2. Disable push notifications, apply do-not-disturb or sleep modes.

Once again, most of us already know this one . . . or do we?! Have you ever noticed that notifications are like potato chips, in that once you view one, you feel compelled to view them all? Stop temptation at the source by temporarily disabling your Slack, email, and other work-related notifications. Apply do-not-disturb or sleep modes to your devices for extra peace and quiet.

3. Anticipate and plan for urgent issues.

Discuss what constitutes something urgent with your manager and team. Consider working with two or three trusted coworkers on a response plan in the event that communication on your behalf is necessary. This is a great way to avoid micromanagement, encourage other team members to grow, and protect your time off.

It’s worth noting here that for some of us, fully checking out is ideal and does wonders; however, others may find true disconnection anxiety inducing, which brings us to tip 4.

4. If you must check in, keep it timeboxed.

Sometimes, allowing yourself a limited block of time to check in helps minimize anxiety. Perhaps 30 minutes a day keeps the heebie jeebies away. Whatever time block you decide on, it’s important to keep yourself accountable. When your time is up, close up shop.

5. Trust that everything will be ok.

Allow yourself to lean on your peers and trust that they will keep team projects moving forward while you recharge. After all, the day will come when you must do the same for them! During your time away from work, be present and take comfort in knowing that chances are, everything will be just fine when you get back—and you’ll be refreshed and ready to jump back in.

Here at Anaconda, we care about employee wellness and work-life balance. That’s why we offer open vacation, paid parental leave for both moms and dads, and “Snake Days” (monthly company-designated days off), on top of a flexible work policy. We truly want employees to disconnect during their time off, so they can come back to work feeling rested and energized. To learn more about life at Anaconda and to view our open positions, visit anaconda.com/careers.

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