Posted by: kerrywills | July 8, 2016

Vacation or “working from another location”

It is summer time which means vacation time for many. As Project Managers, our projects do not slow down just because it is summer (in fact they always seem to be the craziest during this time for some reason). While it is important to rest and take vacations, there are differing views on whether or not to work.

On one hand, there is value to disconnecting and “recharging” with time away from work. On the other hand, work can pile up, progress can slow and anxiety can build by being away for too long. My approach is what I call “working reactively” which means that I check messages and read documents but will not “do” work over vacation. This way I stay close to the work, can provide guidance when needed and do not have to worry about the pile of work when I return. I will also take a phone call or two if this matter is critical but may not even introduce myself.


Of course this is a personal decision and generally I do this work before the family gets up or during downtime on vacation so it does not impact too much. I also am sensitive to others and when my team members leave, I do not bother them when they are away.

What do others think? Do you really take vacations or is it just “working from another location?”


  1. I do exactly what you do, I just never named it. I also put the emails that I need to do additional work with (but can wait till I return) into a Follow-up folder so I know exactly what I have to tend to when I get back. I believe strongly in taking as much of a real vacation as one can. We’ve earned it!

  2. I have a different approach. My team including myself will get caretakers (2IC / stand-in people) for projects or programs, while they are on leave, with a handover meeting to those standing in including a handover document with Project status and TODO’s.
    Only when it is really necesary we will be disturbed, or disturb someone when they are on leave. This approach also works well to mitigate the Proverbial Bus theory as we have less of a key man dependency because other team members are more familiar with other Project than their own.
    If you did not make a call to the person on leave, or did not receive a call while on leave then we consider it as a VICTORY for the person standing in and the person doing the handover given proactive planning and handover.
    This approach really helps people to rest and come back refreshed which is critical in our high paced / high stressed environment.

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