Family First: How to Truly Disconnect During Time Off

Aug 31, 2023

Tick tock, tick tock. It’s almost time for…vacation! Time to unplug and do whatever it is that makes you happy, rejuvenated, and ready to be your best you.

In this age of technology and a new hybrid working era, we are always connected to emails, phone calls, social media and “all the things.” It seems close to impossible to truly disconnect and rehabilitate yourself, spend uninterrupted time with family, and reconnect to what matters to you.

Or is it?

Disconnecting is completely achievable and very much necessary. In fact, as a mental health advocate, there are a million reasons that women and moms need to and should disconnect.

I am a full-time working mom of two little ladies aged ten and—ahem, a very busy four—and I get it. I need a mental break from work, from kids, from really just life at times.

I, like many of you reading this, wear many hats and most days feel like a juggling act:

  • “Am I prepared for that meeting?”
  • “Did I feed the dog?”
  • “I need to remember to pull metrics for that project.”
  • “Who is picking up a kiddo to get them to swim lessons today?”

It can be a lot. But, it’s also a lot of fun to be blessed with a fantastic job and raising a family.

I believe there are two key principles that you can add to your arsenal to help you prepare.

First, are you using your company’s provided tools effectively?

It’s safe to assume that your company has equipped you with an arsenal of tools that you need to be efficient and effective in your workplace, specifically in your role. You need to understand and take advantage of these tools.

I also believe that company culture is a tool you can use, especially if you are empowered and encouraged to take a break, or work for a company that encourages a hybrid working model. This is a must for us working moms—a company that puts you first is a company you should align with.

Now, what does all this mean? For me, this means I have the company support and tools that give me flexibility to be my best version of me. This new era of hybrid work is something we are all learning how to navigate. I’m learning that it’s okay to bounce out of my “office”, switch to mom mode while staying on a call, or even work in my car! It’s critical to be able to work my way while on the go.

Second, How do you prepare yourself and your colleagues for your absence?

Now that you know what tools you have at your disposal, it’s time to prepare to be out of the office. I like organization, spreadsheets, details—concise and efficient communication. Here’s some ideas to help you get going and prep for success!

  • Working ahead – Work about 2-3 weeks ahead of your scheduled vacation time, including the week after you get back from work.
  • Organization – Get everything down in one location that outlines everything you will need help covering. Be detailed—more really is better.
  • Identify your “person” – Identify your backup colleague and meet with each other to review expectations and troubleshoot what you may not have thought about.
  • Out-of-the-office notification – Set up a friendly auto response detailing how long you are out, who is your backup, and when you will return. Bonus points for a sentence or two letting people know you look forward to connecting with them when you return.

When, not if, you understand what tools you have available and prepare accurately, you will enjoy uninterrupted time away from work with your family. So put up your out-of-office notification and get to relaxing.

There is nothing holding you back!

About the Author

Jessica Duvall is a channel marketing enthusiast and is employed as a Senior Channel Marketing Manager at RingCentral. Jessica is passionate about making a difference in every life she touches and is an advocate for mental health. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and loving on her dog. Jessica is a graduate of Clemson University and volunteers on the Alliance of Channel Women event committee.