The Truth About Unplugging And "Vacation"

According to a recent poll, most Americans stay connected to the office while on vacation. That doesn't mean we can't have fun. Does it?

The latest issue of Fast Company is about the #unplug movement—taking time to disconnect and reconnect on a more personal level with friends and family.

Meanwhile, following my own recent post—9 Signs You're In Out-Of-Office Hell—I was called everything from "snarky" and "cynical" to "mean-spirited" and "pathetic" for merely suggesting you check your email if you could not create a more helpful auto-responder while away from the office. For me to suggest that you work while on vacation or even just check your email while you are off work was apparently akin to kicking a small puppy.*

However, according to an online survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees created by cloud-networking company Pertino, most Americans stay connected while on vacation. We regularly check email, take a phone call, and do additional work during our vacation. Before you blow a gasket, many of the survey participants say they work on vacation so they can actually relax. Almost half, 47% of those surveyed, say they are less stressed on vacation when they stay connected with the office.

Whether you have to, or want to, work while you are on vacation, here are some things to know and tips to keep in mind to make it an enjoyable time for you, productive for your career, and safe for your company:

- The top devices used on vacation include: personally owned computers (52%), smartphones (51%), and tablets (30%).

- 35% of employees say they take their work computers and all of their important business files with them on vacation.

- 32% of the people surveyed are using unsanctioned or unsecure cloud file-sharing services to access business files.

- 59% of Americans claim they work while on vacation. 36% are working at least once a day.

- Your IT department (or "the guy" as we call him at home) can and should provide you with secure access to your office applications, files, and resources so you can quickly solve any issues that might arise.

- A public Wi-Fi hotspot can make you an attractive target to criminals that use widely available shareware to hack, or "sidejack," your computer.

- Set up a secure network that will provide an office-like access to IT resources from anywhere. Networking cloud services, such as the one offered by Pertino, can provide authentication and encryption of your traffic over public Wi-Fi and the Internet.

- Set aside a designated time every day to connect with the office and then spend the rest of the time focused on fun in the sun with your travel companions.

Business productivity has risen significantly over the last decade, making employees more indispensable than ever. As a result, we are more likely to experience "out-of-the-office anxiety" while on vacation due to being disconnected from, or disrupted by, office activity. The cure can be as simple as segmenting vacation time to include a few minutes each day to connect with the office—it's trading off quantity of vacation time for quality.
— Todd Krautkremer, Vice President of Marketing at Pertino

- Disturbing bonus fact: The survey found that 31% of Americans are using their mobility connection to work from the bathroom. Yew. Stop that. Now.

You are now free to move about the world. Try to enjoy the rest of your summer.

Read the Survey Results
Survey Methodology: The survey was conducted online by Instant.ly on behalf of Pertino on June 6, 2013, among over 1,000 employed Americans age 18 and older nationwide. The margin of error is 3.08%. - Pertino

*Disclaimer: I have never kicked a puppy.

[Image: Flickr user Paul Sullivan]

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2 Comments

  • joshuahocker

    As a business student, I have out-of-classroom and out-of-office anxiety.  When I'm not studying or dealing with my job, I frantically check my e-mail to make sure nothing self-destructed at work.  My supervisor is taking half of the summer off; ipso facto, I am the "boss" until she returns.  I use these rules when I'm at home, so I believe these are excellent guidelines to use at home from the office and vacationing.  

    P.S.  If you are reading this, can you give a fledgling a few tips about the business world from real life experience? Thanks!
    P.S.S. If you have written an article about it, I would love to read it.  If you haven't, I would love for you to write one. :)

  • Dayna Steele

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Email dayna@daynasteele.com and I will be happy to jump on board as a mentor and send you my books. Dayna