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myHR: July 19, 2017

Prepare to Unplug on Your Summer Vacation 

empty chairs on a beach next to a laptopUnplugging from work can be challenging these days. According to a recent poll, more than 40% of Americans who will vacation this summer plan to work or at least check in with the office while they’re away. If you’re planning a getaway, follow these simple steps to prepare yourself and your colleagues for your time out of the office. You’ll enjoy your break from work more and feel less stressed when you return.

Before You Go
About two weeks before your planned vacation, email your supervisor and colleagues. Let them know the dates you’ll be out of the office and who they can contact while you’re away. Be proactive about regularly scheduled meetings, reports, or deadlines by providing any necessary information ahead of time.

About a week before your vacation, meet with colleagues or staff to discuss the status of projects and how outstanding items should be handled. If you plan to be available while away, share your contact information and expectations. For example, if you plan to respond only to “emergency” emails or calls, define what an emergency is and give some examples. Identify a key word to use in an email subject line, such as “urgent’ or “critical.” This will allow you to quickly scan for issues that require attention.

Schedule key catch-up meetings now for when you return, but avoid scheduling anything on your first day back in the office. You can also ask a team member to compile a summary of important items that occur while you’re out and email it to you on the last workday of your vacation.

A few days ahead of your departure, remind key stakeholders of your vacation. On your last day in the office, set your out-of-office messages on email and voicemail. Include your date of return and contact information for backups.

While You’re Away
Follow the guidelines you set for working or being available. If you plan to check your work email, look for the key word you shared with colleagues. If you don’t see it in an email, resist responding. Set a specific time to check email or work. This can help prevent work creeping into time you’re meant to spend vacationing.

When You Return
The day before returning to the office, review your calendar for the upcoming week so you’re prepared for any meetings. Scan email and read the summary update email, if you asked for one.

Keep your schedule free of meetings on your first day back in the office as much as possible. This will give you the chance to respond to emails and voicemails. Take the time to prioritize the issues so that you’re not overwhelmed by the volume of messages.

Following your first day back, catch up with colleagues and staff. Thanks to the steps you took before vacation, you’ll be refreshed and ready to pick up where you left off.

For more information on planning stress-free vacations, and other work-life balance resources, visit Penn’s Wellness & Work-life webpages.

Sources: Third Path Institute, TripAdvisor, Forbes

Rev Up Your Writing

Woman writing at table with two people in the backgroundStrong writers have an edge in the workplace. They know how to craft effective and engaging communications to accomplish their goals. Whether in an email, newsletter article, or proposal, their words clearly convey complex ideas and persuade audiences to take action.

Anyone can improve their writing skills with practice. You can start by registering for The Basics of Stellar Business Writing on August 10 at 9am-12pm or 2pm-5pm. During this interactive workshop, you’ll get a refresher on spelling, grammar and punctuation basics. You’ll then focus on the building blocks of effective writing for the workplace and practice how to put it all together for best results.

The Basics of Stellar Business Writing is the first session in the Writing Series, four classes designed to help you take your writing from good enough to getting results. To fit your schedule, you can chose the morning session or the afternoon session. The next three classes are:

The Challenge of Communicating, September 13, 2017, 9am-12pm or 2pm-5pm – Learn how to develop content and structure to achieve your writing purpose and connect with your audience

Successful Email and Other Writing, November 1, 2017, 9am-12pm or 2pm-5pm – In addition to email, explore other essential business writing such as proposals, reports, and agendas. Learn best practices in reviewing your writing so that it is error-free.

Comparison of Business Writing and Academic Writing, December 20, 2017, 9am-12pm or 2pm-5pm – Discover the similarities and differences between these methods of writing so that you can understand and use both effectively.

Register now for The Basics of Stellar Business Writing, 9am-12pm or 2pm-5pm, then register for the other classes in the series. You can take only the classes you want, or register for all four to create a comprehensive writing program for yourself. Those who take the four classes consecutively will receive a coaching session on their writing prior to the second class. Your department will be charged $75 for each class.

Healthy Meals: Moroccan Chicken Salad

Moroccan chicken salad

This aromatic no-cook dish brightens up chicken and rice without heating up the kitchen.

Find the recipe here.


Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


Did You Know? The Be in the Know Campaign Year Ends August 31

Don’t miss your chance to earn up to $200 and Be in the Know about your well-being! Submit your biometric screening test results by July 31. Your online health assessment and bonus action items are due August 31, 2017!