Going on vacation? 3 reasons to check email

Wojciech Kowalski via Wikimedia Commons

(MoneyWatch) If you're going on vacation this summer, you may try to stay log off completely while you're away. And that's a worthy goal. This blog has previously covered the professional and personal benefits that senior executives say they reap by setting aside their work after hours.

But for some of us, remaining completely offline can cause, not relieve, stress. Instead, you may consider designating a point person who can filter important messages to you, or telling your team to send you only urgent messages and that you'll be logging on -- once a day. Here's why:

You can prevent a small issue from growing. Left unchecked, a little problem can transform from a minor issue the day after you leave into a major headache by the time you come back. "Sometimes I can prevent a little problem from becoming a big problem. I am careful about the time though -- if I wait till the afternoon some things work themselves out and I avoid being caught up in a string of emails," says Holly Bohn, creative director at See Jane Work, an online office style store.

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It may encourage you to go away. Although JB Training Solutions president Brad Karsh recommends trying to completely disconnect from the office, he says that for some people having the option to log on daily is the only way they'll ever break away. "The macho man who hasn't taken a vacation day since 1982 may be more inclined to take some time away if he has the peace of mind of knowing that he'll be able to check in," Karsh says.

It can take the sting out of your return. As soon as you step on the plane after a great trip, you inevitably start thinking of the things you need to do when you're back -- starting with tackling your inbox. If you can minimize the damage, you'll have a smoother return. "You'll able to react quickly to current projects when you return, versus being in catch-up mode for several days," says Lynn Taylor, workplace consultant and author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant."

The idea is to let technology do it's job, making your job easier and your life better. "Occasionally checking in with the 'real world' allows me to relax and enjoy my time away," notes Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, a New York City real estate brokerage. "In contrast to the old days when checking in meant rounds of time-consuming phone calls, checking email from a smartphone is not nearly as disruptive."

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons User Wojciech Kowalski

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