In recent years, staycations – vacation time taken without leaving one’s home – have become popular. I’ve been hearing about them a lot more during the summer of 2012, when gas prices and airfares are especially high.
More on this later, but my husband is a university professor and he is taking a sabbatical in London next winter. The four months our family is in London will give my husband a chance to expand on his research interests and learn some new skills without concern for the day-to-day minutiae of his regular job.
And so it occurred to me, why can’t all of us working folk take mini-sabbaticals? During the summer, when our offices experience periodic slowdowns, why can’t we do a staycation at work?
I know what you’re thinking. Alex, if I have an extra vacation day, why on earth would I want to spend it in the office? The answer is simple. Using this one day the right way will make all of your subsequent working days more satisfying and worthwhile. Here’s how to make it happen.
Tell your boss and your team when you are going to be out, and close the loop on all of your projects. Delegate immediate to-dos – this is a terrific opportunity for your team to practice picking up the slack. Set an out of the office greeting on IM, e-mail, and voicemail, and don’t respond to messages until after your staycation is over. Put a do not disturb sign on your office door.
Career success is built one relationship at a time. Is there a senior executive or strategic partner with whom you’ve wanted to connect but could simply never find the time? What about a mentor with whom a check-in is long overdue? Get on the calendars and enjoy a leisurely gathering in the cafeteria without the pressure of having to get something critical accomplished.
How many times have you put off that onsite management seminar or sales skills webinar because it wasn’t a burning priority? When one of my prior employers offered the Dale Carnegie Course, I did the same thing for months. One day I finally got around to it, and its impact on my career was so incredible that I would have traded two weeks of vacation for it. While you’re in the course, be fully present and attentive. After all, you have no e-mails to respond to or meetings to attend.
Listen to some energizing music, do a puzzle, draw a picture, or write some lines of dialogue - anything that gets the juices flowing. Being in a certain frame of mind may open you up to an intriguing solution to a vexing office problem or a pathway to innovation in your department or field.
Your operations and HR teams may have expended a lot of effort on offerings such as nutritional consulting, onsite fitness and massage, and private napping rooms. If your regular schedule mandates passing these up, use your staycation day to enjoy and experience them to the fullest. Don’t forget that on the outside, you’ll probably pay much more for these services.
Take an hour of your staycation to de-clutter your space so it’s a more pleasant place in which to spend your working hours. Recycle all old or unnecessary paperwork, and dust off your tech products and furniture. Tastefully arrange some colorful artwork, photographs, or mementos around the room, and consider putting up some motivational quotes that will remind you why you’re there every day.