The Koddi Guide to Taking an Effective Vacation

Picture this: you’ve just finished dinner with the family and are settling in to watch a few Netflix episodes before bed. You grab your phone to scroll through social media and, low and behold, a vacation ad pops up (thanks, targeted ads). You begin to daydream and think to yourself, “Wouldn’t that be nice?” As your mind wanders around ocean views or snow-capped mountains, you’re suddenly brought back to reality as your phone buzzes from yet another work email. The blissful brainstorm turns to workload worries. The glorious picture you painted in your head of yourself sipping a Mai Tai in Maui or chugging a brewski in Breckenridge turns into a grumpy belief that it just isn’t possible. It isn’t feasible. It simply can’t exist.

But why?

Let’s take a look at the main reasons people don’t take a vacation:

  • “I have too much work to do.”
  • “I don’t want to miss out on opportunities.”
  • “I feel pressured to keep up with the person next to me, just to prove myself.”
  • “I fear all of my work will pile up while I’m away.”

Those negative thoughts just lead to more stress, less productivity, and higher feelings of frustration. This negativity doesn’t just hurt you — it can also hurt your workplace.

We need to change our mindset. Vacation doesn’t have to be a double-edged sword. But how do we stop seeing vacation as a dirty word and start encouraging time off? What will it take to eliminate the taboo nature of taking a break?

Studies show that 70% of employees return to work highly motivated after taking just one week of vacation during the summer. Furthermore, it takes four days for a person to actually start enjoying a vacation. In 2018, the average vacation request for Koddi employees was 20 hours – equating to only 2.5 days. While this data shows that our employees utilize their vacation days and take sporadic time off throughout the year, we also want to encourage them to take relaxing, extended vacations. Koddi employees rate vacation policies as the second most important company benefit, and we want to make sure that everyone is taking full advantage of these benefits.

This isn’t just a Koddi problem, either. In 2015, 41% of Americans didn’t take a single vacation – leaving 658 million unused vacation days. Of the Americans that did take a vacation, a whopping 59% admit to regularly checking their email and taking work calls throughout their vacation. Sound familiar?

10% of our Koddi employees wrote in their vacation request that they would certainly be checking in or definitely working throughout the day. Instead of honing in on the idea of working during vacation, why not take a proactive approach and prepare your team for your time off?

One Koddiyak’s note on their vacation request alluded to this idea:

“Blocking some family time for the summer. I’m clearing it with the team and will have the best coverage plan known to man.”

This vacation request came from Nicholas Ward, the President and Co-founder of Koddi.

No one wins when employees don’t take vacations. Employees that don’t use their vacation time are more frustrated, more burnt out, and at a greater risk of stress, health issues, and absenteeism. Employees that do take vacations see an increase in creativity, productivity, job satisfaction, and overall happiness.

Koddi Guide to Taking a Vacation

(Follow #kodditravels to see more vacation moments from our team.)

So how do we make this dream a reality? Preparing for a vacation requires more than just packing. To prepare for and take an effective vacation, you must practice the 3 U’s – being unplugged, undisturbed, and uninterrupted.


There’s a difference between doing work on an unplanned day off versus a vacation. Doing work on vacation just leads to even more stress.

Disable notifications. If you truly want to unwind and relax, you have to unplug from your work. Consider turning off push notifications on your phone for email and Slack. Those pesky red notification numbers cause instant stress, so turn those off too.

Set an out of office response. Turn your “out of office” response on for email. Don’t forget to include who to contact in your absence.

Set an away message. Change your status to “vacation” on Slack and other internal messaging apps. This should reduce the number of direct messages you’ll have to check when you return.


In order to effectively unplug, you have to be as undisturbed as possible while on your vacation.

Prepare with your team. Before leaving for vacation, discuss the definition of “emergency” with your coworkers and when/how to contact you in that case. Otherwise, walk through variations of “what could happen” and empower your team with the information to handle the what-ifs on their own. This preparation should start well ahead of your vacation to ensure that any questions are addressed before you leave.

Let your clients know. Your customers shouldn’t be in the dark when you are out of office. Letting them know ahead of time will give them clarity regarding who they should go to for questions or when they will be able to reach you. Full transparency is key and will set a realistic standard while you are away.


Your workload doesn’t work like a movie. You can’t pause it while you’re away and play it when you return. Life continues to happen, and the business continues to operate. To ensure your work is uninterrupted, you should have a detailed action plan in place.

Delegate strategically. That means delegating your tasks to other team members and setting up an outline of how things can keep happening while you relax and vacation appropriately. Doing this will keep you from being overwhelmed and overloaded upon your return. This will also foster independence for you in setting up your own action plan, creating cross-functionality for the team by tasking others with items that don’t always fall in their day to day schedule and increasing collaboration by encouraging employees to work together.

Think ahead. For two weeks leading up to your vacation, keep your upcoming absence in mind. During each activity, ask yourself: “how will this continue while I’m gone?” If the how and who are not yet identified, take the time to add it to your action plan now. Screenshots of the step-by-step processes for tasks are handy as well.

Make it repeatable. Vacations aren’t a one-and-done deal. These action plans may be used for future trips, and for your coworkers, as a reference going forward. If another trip pops up a few months later, no problem! Just dust off the action plan template, make some updates, and you’re good to go!

Employees should feel encouraged and welcome to take the time off that they need, so companies should work with their employees to make it happen. That beautiful, breezy beach doesn’t have to be a figment of your imagination much longer. Using these 3 U’s can help you truly get the rest and relaxation you desire and deserve. Now it’s almost vacation time — can you feel it?

Koddi Culture