Scroll through the instagram feed of your favorite travel influencer, and you’ll see just how much folks love a good vacation—in theory at least. But while scenic views of ancient cities and exotic foods served on remote beaches can generate hundreds of thousands of likes and comments, the reality is that half of all American workers leave vacation days on the table every year—particularly those between the ages of 18 and 25. And according to new Office Pulse data released by the digital media company Captivate, 23% of workers plan to work at least 30 minutes a day while on vacation, while nearly 50% will monitor emails.
So what’s the best way to leave the work at work and jet off on your own summer getaway with full peace of mind? Well, it comes down to preparation. Follow these tips from JoJo Gutfarb, Vice President of Goodwin Group PR, before you go on vacation, and you can actually enjoy your time away and come back renewed and refreshed.
Give your team a heads-up
“Before you leave, meet with your team or supervisor to tell them where projects stand and what you may need a hand with while you are away,” Gutfarb says. She also recommends sending this information via email, along with contacts for each client in case another team member needs to get in touch with them while you’re away.
Finally, Gutfarb suggests keeping a colleague on standby. “Make sure you have someone on your team attending any important events for clients, especially events you have helped coordinate or generate coverage for,” she says. “That person should be briefed and connected with press attending ahead of time.”
Let clients know you’re leaving, too
About a month before your vacation is the best time to personally let clients know that you’re leaving. Reminders certainly help, and this is where those handy out-of-office emails come in. But, not all autoresponders are created equal.
“Proof read your email a few times,” she says. “When it’s time to make it active, you’re normally excited about getting out of the office and in a rush to get to the airport or hit the road, so make sure you don’t have any embarrassing typos.”
Gutfarb also has some specific tips for other PR pros: “In your email, you may want to include something like, ‘If you are a reporter on deadline, please contact X,’ so you don’t miss a media opportunity for a client.”
Schedule social media in advance
Staying active on social media is a must while on vacation—whether you’re managing your own accounts or those of clients—but that doesn’t mean you have to spend pool time posting to Twitter and Instagram. Gutfarb always schedules posts in advance, using Hootsuite for Twitter, the Later app for Instagram and Facebook’s built-in scheduler. She also has a strategy for when those posts are scheduled to go live.
“Stats have proven that the most successful days to post on social media are Tuesday through Thursday mornings, or afternoons between 2:00 and 4:30pm,” says Gutfarb. “It’s great to schedule content for early in the morning (between 7:00 and 9:00 am), when people are commuting to work. You can also post around the 10:00 to 11:00 am hour, when people may be taking a quick social media break before the second half of their morning routine. The weekends and Mondays are not as successful.”
But even if you pre-schedule posts, social media isn’t completely “set-it-and-forget-it.”
“I always say that you should pay attention to breaking news when you’re traveling because a post you may have scheduled may no longer be appropriate to go out,” Gutfarb explains. “You should always be able to cancel a scheduled post or ask a colleague to be on call if you’re unable to be near a tablet or computer.”
Or, you can just check your social media accounts once or twice… You know, right before you upload that killer bikini snap.