Should You Read or Reply to Work Emails on Vacation?

Should You Read or Reply to Work Emails on Vacation?
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Nowadays, we can’t imagine our daily lives without email. A recent study found that 52% of workers admitted to checking email daily. And 62% of those who check their email at least once a day claim they do it numerous times daily. Problematically, though, checking email too frequently can lead to exhaustion and tension.

Checking your email while on vacation may seem paradoxical, but email is sometimes okay. Maintaining contact with coworkers and clients is essential for successful remote work. In addition, some businesses use email to announce major developments like new initiatives or sales. Since you can’t use other means of contact, stick to email.

There are, however, drawbacks to reading emails while on vacation. There’s the fact that it can prevent you from unwinding. This diversion may also cause an increase in email traffic.

In such a case, how do you handle this situation? This article will discuss how you will deal with work-related emails when you’re away. We’ll also examine the pros and cons of responding to these messages.

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1. Set Strong Boundaries of When You’ll Be Available

When you’re on vacation, you need to set boundaries about when you’ll be available. If you don’t, you could feel guilty if you miss important calls or emails.

If you have a smartphone, you can easily block out certain hours during which you won’t respond to phone calls or texts. For example, you can tell your friends that you won’t answer calls after 7 p.m. or reply to text messages until 9 a.m. the next morning.

You can still set boundaries if you can’t access your mobile device. Tell your family members that you won’t be able to pick up the phone unless it’s an emergency. Or, if you prefer, you can say that you won’t answer emails until Monday.

You can even ensure you don’t get interrupted by setting your alarm clock to ring only twice per night. That way, you won’t feel as bad if you wake up late and miss a call or message.

2. Be Aware that These Calls Can Usually Wait

It’s common for people to receive urgent calls or messages on vacations. However, there are ways to avoid being disturbed.

First, ask your colleagues to send all urgent messages via email instead of calling you directly. Second, you can let them know you’re on vacation, so they understand why you aren’t picking up the phone. Third, you can make sure that your voicemail is turned off. Finally, you can turn off your ringer altogether.

Of course, these options could be better. Someone needs to talk to you right now. But if you’re going to be gone for more than a few days, it might be better to ignore the calls.

3. Stop Replying

Another option is to stop replying to emails altogether. This is especially useful if you’re working remotely. If you’re traveling, try sending a quick note saying you’re busy and that you’ll reply later.

This approach works well because it lets others know you’re taking a break. You can always catch up on missed messages when you return home.

However, you should pay attention to your inbox. Instead, you should check it every day or two. This way, you’ll stay updated on any important changes.

4. Say No

You can say no to requests that come across your desk. While you’re on vacation, declining meeting with clients, attending social events, or doing anything else that takes up too much of your time is perfectly fine.

You should be fine if you’re honest with your boss, coworkers, and customers. Of course, you should never lie to anyone. So, if you decide to say no, you should explain why.

For example, you can say something like: “I’m sorry, but I’ve got plans this weekend.” Then, you can offer to meet with them at another time.

Alternatively, you can say, “No thanks,” and then move on. Don’t worry — you won’t hurt their feelings. Most people will appreciate your honesty.

In addition, you can also politely decline invitations from friends and family. After all, you don’t owe anyone anything while you’re away.

Finally, you can also use this opportunity to take time. That means you can spend quality time with your loved ones, read a book, or go hiking in the woods.

5. Call in Helpers Before You Go

If you’re planning to travel abroad, you may need help. For instance, you could hire an assistant to handle your work while you’re away. Or, you could outsource certain tasks to a virtual assistant.

Either way, you should make sure you have someone available before leaving. Otherwise, you could find yourself needing access to critical information.

That said, you can hire a part-time employee. Instead, you can assign one task to each person on your team. For example, you could give your project manager responsible for handling client communications.

Similarly, you could assign other responsibilities to your administrative assistants. They can then delegate those duties to other employees.

Of course, you should only assign specific tasks to specific individuals. And you should ensure that they understand what they’re supposed to do.

Also, you should assign only one role to the same person. Doing so could lead to confusion and frustration.

So, ask your supervisor for advice if you need help with how to proceed. They will likely have suggestions about managing your workload during your trip.

6. Understand Your Company’s Culture and Address Emails Accordingly

When traveling, you might feel tempted to respond to emails immediately. However, that’s probably not a good idea.

After all, you want to respect your company’s culture. You could violate its policies if you reply to work emails on vacation.

Plus, you could get into trouble by sending inappropriate responses. For example, you might accidentally send a joke or personal message instead of a professional reply.

Instead, you should wait until you return to check your email. This gives you more control over your messages. It also allows you to address any issues that arise when you’re back at work.

However, you shouldn’t let your absence affect your productivity. You shouldn’t slack off just because you’re on vacation.

Instead, you’ll need to set aside enough time to complete your work. As long as you meet your deadlines, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been working hard or relaxing.

As a result, you should be able to maintain your usual productivity while away.

7. Let Your Colleagues Know That You Won’t Be Responsive

You should also let your colleagues know you won’t respond to their emails.

This includes both formal and informal communication channels. For example, you can tell them via phone calls, text messages, or social media posts.

Alternatively, you can include a note in your calendar. Then, you can update your schedule whenever necessary.

The key here is to communicate clearly. Don’t say anything vague like, “I’m going to take some time off.”

Instead, explain why you won’t be replying to emails. Also, provide details about when you plan to return. Finally, mention which people you expect to contact you.

In addition, you should consider using an online tool such as Slack or Trello. These platforms allow you to create private groups to share files and collaborate.

These tools are especially useful for managing projects. So, you can use them to keep track of your progress while you’re away.

Pros in replying to work emails while on vacation

1. It helps you stay connected. You must reply to work emails while on vacation to be able to keep up with what’s going on back home. For example, if you have a client who needs something done urgently, you might not hear about it until after you return.

2. It keeps you updated. It’s important to know what’s happening at work so that you can make informed decisions. You’ll need to read your emails.

3. It prevents burnout. You need to set boundaries between work and personal life when working remotely. Checking email too often can lead to burnout. Limiting yourself to just one or two hours per day, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed.

4. It saves time. You don’t have to worry about answering questions or scheduling meetings. Instead, you can focus on relaxing and enjoying your trip.

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Cons in replying to work emails while on vacation

1. You need to get updates. You’ll get all the news and updates if you respond to work emails during your vacation. This could mean you are surprised when you get back to work.

2. It leads to more email traffic. Since you need to check your inbox regularly, there will be more unread messages than usual. As a result, you’ll receive more emails than normal.

3. It makes you feel guilty. If you don’t respond to emails, people will assume you’ve abandoned them. They might even think that you don’t care about their problems.


If you want to enjoy your vacation without worrying about work, you should reply to work emails while you’re away. However, you should only do this if you’re confident you can handle the workload. Otherwise, you can avoid missing out on important information. In addition, you may also find that you start getting stressed out by all the incoming emails.

So, decide whether you want to reply to work emails while traveling. If you choose to answer them, you should limit yourself to one or two hours per week. After that, you should let go of any guilt from ignoring them.

If you’re still on the fence about whether to read or reply to work emails while on vacation, know that you’re not alone.

This is a tough decision with no clear right answer. However, this article has helped shed some light on the pros and cons of each approach. And if you need help creating a resume that will get you hired for your dream job, contact our expert resume writers today. We’ll be happy to give you a hand.

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