Summer is arriving quickly and it’s time to start planning that vacation. Whether you want to travel somewhere tropical or somewhere arctic… take some time off; you deserve it.

Taking PTO can feel difficult. No one wants to be a burden in the office. We get caught up in the day to day and forget that we need a break.

If you find taking PTO difficult, you are not alone. According to a Forbes interview with Veetahl Eilat-Raichel, Founder and CEO of Sorbet , “Over 55% of employees leave close to 800 million unused days on the books each year while forfeiting up to $65 Billion in benefits.” 

You work hard for your time off and you should definitely take advantage of it. Taking time away from the office actually allows you to be more productive before and after the vacation. The fear of work building up is understandable– we have those same feelings too! Let’s discuss how you can prepare for the vacation you need and deserve.

Get your work done ahead of time

Before leaving for vacation, get as much work done as possible but be realistic. What must be done and what can wait? Set yourself and your team up for success.


When you start planning your time off, check out your company’s calendar. Is there anything big happening when you intend on leaving? If so, plan for a different week if you are able.


The further in advance you start planning, the more tasks you can complete ahead of time. Budget your time leading up to your PTO to get things done early. Setting aside thirty minutes a day to work ahead will bring you peace of mind on your vacation. You can also use this time to communicate with your team members about your planned absence.

Communicate with your team

When you decide to take a vacation this summer, be sure to communicate with your coworkers. You will most likely be tempted to check your email and stay somewhat connected to work. This is not an effective use of your paid time off.


Notify your team members who you work with daily. Ask them if there is anything you can start working on before taking PTO. Take this time to establish a point of contact that can answer internal or client questions while you are away.


Communicating your absence with your peers will limit the emails, texts and phone calls you’ll receive while you’re out of the office. The more informed your coworkers are, the less stressful it will be to return to work.

Create an auto-reply

Another way to encourage coworkers and clients to give you some space is to create an out-of-office auto-reply. This alleviates the pressure of missing anything major while you’re out.


LinkedIn recommends mentioning how long you will be out of the office, a person to contact in your absence, and your return date in your auto-reply. Having an auto-reply will decrease the number of emails you’ll need to read through upon returning to the office.


Do not let your vacation time go to waste. Taking PTO allows you to relax and return more productive than ever!

There is a fear of taking time off. Fear of being replaceable. Fear of falling behind. Fear of failure. In reality, taking PTO works wonders on your performance. In fact, productivity increases 31% after taking PTO, according to author Shawn Anchor. Shawn is also the CEO of BetterUp, a company that strives to help people grow.

This summer, take a solid vacation where you promise yourself not to do any work. Start working on tasks in advance, communicate with your coworkers and create an out-of-office auto-reply. Once you return to work, you’ll be set up for success.

Do you need additional advice on maximizing your vacation and increasing your productivity? Schedule a FREE appointment with us any Thursday during our Office Hours. We would love to hear from you!