Recently, my wife, kids and I hooked up the RV and hit the Texas Gulf Coast on one of those “making memories” trips. It gave us time to see the beauty of our state and learn its history. Earlier this year while planning for the trip, we thought it would give the kids a time to remember. As it turns out, we benefited from the trip as well.
I also had another plan that I kept away from my dear wife and kids: I planned to work during my time away from the office. Thinking back, I feel I was as effective, if not more, as when I am in the office. This is not just my personal assessment; I came to this conclusion after a review with my office colleagues, consultants and clients. It turns out most of my clients did not even realize I had left for that long.
I knew I had to spend minimal time on the phone so it wouldn’t be an obvious distraction for my family. I became an undercover vacation worker. During the vacation trip, I strove to be an engaged husband/father and business owner to the point where both my business and home contexts felt that I was involved. This is a role I had set out to master a few years back.
Becoming an undercover vacation worker has allowed me to take longer vacation trips and spend more time with my family. It has allowed me to continue to work on my business while on family trips without feeling like I’ve been gone too long. In fact, some of my best ideas and work have come while on such trips and I’m no longer as concerned that I may be gone too long to where it negatively affects my business.
To be an undercover vacation worker requires a couple of things. These include:
(1) A team effort starting with a willing office staff that understands my predicament, i.e. I am a family man who runs a business and I need to stay in touch with both. I cannot be detached from either at any time and though it may vary in degrees, I enjoy and am passionate about both.
(2) A discipline to do most of your heavy work either early in morning or late at night when everyone is asleep. Then do minimal updates throughout the day with the committed team mentioned above.
(3) A user-centric approach to technology. By this I mean your data and applications should be independent of your location and device. The key is to access my applications and data regardless of where I am and with whichever technology device I am using. My team and I also need access to data in real time regardless of the person changing it.
Just a few years ago, what I did this past summer was unimaginable, but thanks to cloud-based solutions, professionals like me are able to access our data and applications from dispersed geographical areas. The beauty of it is that it allows me much-needed family time in some of the best locations without the feeling of being disengaged from the office.
Is the undercover vacationer the future of vacationing? Technology is certainly making that very possible.