Manager – what is your vacation strategy?

I share mine for your inspiration

Many companies and managers prepare themselves before the summer period starts with several weeks of vacation. For many of us it means that we try to close as many open topics as possible before the vacation period starts to be able to relax. Now before the summer period I feel it is good to reflect about what the vacation period means for each of us.

When I meet high performing managers and senior specialists the focus on our discussion is quite often on the job and performance. Usually, we talk also on work and life balance including vacation practices. When we discuss this more in-depth it becomes evident that managers´ possibility to have a decent vacation depends on a number of factors. Below are the top 3 reasons based on numerous discussions with managers.

First, global companies are used to handle business 24/7, all year around. The companies live in the world where someone is absent every day. It is quite natural that the globalization takes us towards the direction where key people are expected to be available also during their vacation. This is the price to be paid when accepting a key leadership position.

Secondly, we (still) have leaders who expect their reporting managers to always be available and, if not, interpret the vacation as a sign of lack of commitment or focus. We come back to leadership and to the question what kind of leadership culture we want to foster. Obviously if your manager wants you to work then you will most likely will do, also when on vacation.

Thirdly, and the most common reason is that managers are used to be available, use mobile working tools and respond to emails and calls even when they are on vacation. We say that we do that by our own choice, to have control and to enable a relaxed vacation.

For a vast majority of the manager´s you do not explain why vacation period is needed and I am not going to repeat all the positive reasons of having a vacation. I believe that each of us working in a global business environment should develop clear rules on how to manage work and vacation in the best way.

Here’s my personal vacation rules (or behaviors) for your support.

  • Work is only allowed if it cannot wait.
  • I do not call or send messages to my colleague who is on vacation. I only send emails if the issue cannot wait and nobody else can support.
  • I do not respond to emails unless it is urgent and cannot wait. If I am copied in an email, I take it is a sign that my response is not needed.
  • Client emails are always priority 1 and I will respond within the same day.
  • I check emails max 3 times per day – morning, lunch, and evening, if possible, without disturbing any other activities.

I have been working many years in international environments for global companies and during the years I have tried to follow working rules as above with minor modification. Sometimes with a good success and sometime with less of success. For summer 2021 I am again fully dedicated to these! Let us see how it goes.

Let us demonstrate strong Self-Leadership to enjoy the time with our families and friends. I want to wish everyone a relaxing vacation period!

Manager vacation

Mikko has more than 20 years of experience in international roles within large global organisations. He has hold Senior HR leadership roles and specialist positions within both telecom and automotive electronics and worked in Sweden, Finland and Germany. Mikko has a Master of Law degree and he has practised in the City Court of Helsinki. Before transitioning to HR Mikko worked several years within legal consultancy.


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