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Should you stay connected on Summer Fridays?

(MoneyWatch) If you have the opportunity to take Summer Fridays this season, you'll probably consider whether or not to stay in touch on your afternoon off. There are certainly good points to be made on either side. Unplugging allows you to really take advantage of your downtime, but for certain people this can cause more stress than checking in sporadically. Here are 4 moves to consider making:

Staying connected with clients

If your office is shut down on Summer Fridays, it may seem like an easy decision to leave the smartphone in the car while you're at the beach. But you might want to turn it on every so often for those outside your office. "Even if your office has a summer schedule, some of your clients might not. An issue may develop that needs your personal attention, and you want to be connected enough to address issues that cannot wait until Monday," says Scott Ragusa, President of Contract Staffing at WinterWyman, a Boston-based career consulting firm.

Creating a backup plan

In the case of Summer Fridays, an ounce of prevention can prevent a pound of pain come Monday morning. "I think it's important to have a team strategy to allow for seamless coverage," says Ragusa. "One person can stay in closer contact and can know when to respond on behalf of their colleagues if needed." While an out of office message is a great start, it should give an option of another person to reach if you're not available. "If you are covering for yourself, then you should check voicemail and critical emails at least twice during the day," says Ragusa.

Regrouping Sunday night and/or Monday morning

Simply checking email on Sunday night and prioritizing your Monday can help get you back into the swing of things, fast, says Ragusa. Once you arrive Monday, jump right in with an informal catch-up session with your team or a more formal meeting. "A quick team meeting Monday morning to make sure that everything is covered is an effective way to start the week after any time out of the office," says Ragusa.

Keeping the darn smartphone turned on

For Gary Malin, President of Citi Habitats, a real estate brokerage firm in New York City, having his device nearby helps him spend more time out of the office. "It allows me to really relax because I don't have to wonder what's happening with my business while I am away," says Malin. That's not to say his ear is pressed to the phone permanently. "I'm a big believer in maintaining a good work-life balance. Typically, I'll check my phone once and hour or so during business hours if I am away from the office," says Malin.

While for some, smartphones are a leash to the office, Malin says for him, technology has the opposite effect: "It's a liberating feeling, and has allowed me to spend more quality time with my family, while still remaining in the loop with all my managers and agents."

Do you stay connected during your summer downtime, or do you prefer to log off completely?

This is part 2 of a three-part series on job searching during the summer. Check here for part 1, "Rev up your resume today."

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