When you work from the confines of your home office, is there really any time off? In many cases our ability to make a decent living is directly correlated to the amount of work we can done, which more often than not means that there is […]

When you work from the confines of your home office, is there really any time off?

In many cases our ability to make a decent living is directly correlated to the amount of work we can done, which more often than not means that there is never an off switch. Even if you take a break or a vacation, the business (and its problems) are always on your mind. Those who work in an office, get to leave their problems/work behind when on vacation.

But for web workers, work comes with them. Or at least for some of us!

If business is on your mind, how do you really disconnect – leave the Blackberry behind, get off the WiFi and just soak in the sun. What are your tips and tricks for taking a deep breath, and disconnecting? More importantly, how do web workers’ really take a vacation?

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  1. I’ve been in business for about 5 years now and I think that’s how long it’s been since I’ve taken a vacation. What I do do is take long weekends. I’ll notify my clients who currently have projects on the books that the office will be closed on such and such dates starting a week or two in advance. I’ll then check in with them in the days before closing to make sure nothing needs covered before I leave. This seems to work pretty good and I get a short burst of R&R.

    The bigger problem being a web-worker is shutting down at 5pm and weekends. The phone will continue to ring and the emails continue to filter in. I don’t know if the problem is a side effect of having a home based business that clients are aware of, or my own reputation of responding quickly; or both. We have discussed doing a rate hike for evenings and weekends. If it’s that important that the client can’t wait until morning, then we’ll handle it and charge extra.

  2. Deirdre’ Straughan Friday, November 24, 2006

    Just because I work for a company (as well as maintaining my own very busy website) doesn’t mean I get to switch off and forget office business at 5 pm – at a small startup, we all have plenty to worry about, even though the money is all coming out of the boss’ pocket.

    On the other hand, being completely a freelancer (previously) never meant that I /couldn’t/ shut off when I wanted to. Going someplace completely without Internet usually does the trick – and, yes, there are plenty such places left in the world!

    It helps if you remind yourself that the time you spend completely absorbed with family and friends and non-work activities will allow you to come back to work relaxed and refreshed, with new perspectives that may even help you on the job.

  3. Deirdre’ Straughan Friday, November 24, 2006

    (went a little wild with the alls and completelys there…)

  4. Active holidays work for me. It’s easier to switch off work if your skiing down a mountain or skuba diving with the fishes. That said I can’t imagine taking more than a week away from the PC and work… I’d be scared it had all gone to hell before I got home.

  5. Shutting out the office is becoming a global problem. Even office workers are expected to keep the mobile on, and keep an eye on e-mails. The competitive environment now extends to vacation for office workers. The last few holidays has meant that I have been needed to check mail each morning, and then call in if something needed clarifying. Also the office seem to have adopted, well just give them a quick call attitude.

    The important thing is to arrange things so that they can run by themselves for a few days. You guys in the US have this side a little easier with fewer vacation days than us in Europe!

    Either way TAKE A BREAK, you need it, and if you can pay the bills you’ve earned it!

  6. This is entering my second year of working on the web, and it’s kind of killer on vacation. I’ve found that if I don’t work on the holiday, then I don’t get paid. On the web, it seems, there are no sick days, no holidays and you’ve got to have some way to keep going or else you go broke!

  7. Amie Gillingham Friday, November 24, 2006

    Not only do I not take vacations unless the laptop comes with and the accomodations have wifi, I didn’t even take a maternity leave with either child and in fact answered tech questions from my postpartum recovery room. One of the hazards of running your own internet business, particularly with a company as small as ours (currently three employees including myself) is that it feeds your inner work-a-holic demon. I’m in the position where if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done, coupled with an overwhelming sense of obligation to make sure my customers are cared for. Lord knows, I never worked this hard for someone else. Is there a self-help group for folks like me? ;)

  8. Brandon Checketts Friday, November 24, 2006

    I just returned from a very enjoyable vacation to Orlando. Before going, I thought it would be difficult to leave work behind, but once we were there it was no problem at all. Of course, I brought a laptop with, but I only used it to move pictures off of the digital camera, and to check email once. I’ll admit that I sometimes thought about, but I think the key for me was just to enjoy where I was and the people I was with.

  9. I block out entire days each week as “Free Days” where I don’t do anything business related. No email. No voicemail. No business reading. Every Saturday and Sunday are off limits to doing any work so that I can rejuvenate for a much more productive Monday-Friday.

  10. Were it not for MMORPGs I would never stop working. Oh, and my family, them too.

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