Forget staycations. The latest trend appears to be “workations,” according to a recent survey from staffing firm Accountemps, a Robert Half company.
A majority of workers (54 percent) responding to the survey says they typically check in with the office at least once or twice a week during their vacation. The number has increased 13 percent from only one year ago.
Difficult to Disconnect
Reasons for checking in include gaining peace of mind that things were under control (54 percent), keeping projects moving along (53 percent), avoiding coming back to extra work (47 percent), and preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress (34 percent).
Michael Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps, points out that it’s not always feasible for some employees to completely disconnect.
“The reality is, many professionals, either by necessity or choice, will check in with the office to ensure things are under control and projects are moving forward in their absence,” he said. “Employees who feel the need to connect with work should set clear boundaries to minimize the time they spend attending to office duties.”
When it comes to establishing boundaries, younger workers might want to take a lesson from their older counterparts. A full 60 percent of workers 55 years of age and older don’t check in with the office at all during their break, and the same is true for 52 percent of workers ages 35 to 54. But only 38 percent of workers ages 18 to 34 remain disconnected.
Workers Want More Time
Given that vacations have turned into workations for so many, it’s not surprising that more than one-third of professionals (37 percent) say they could use more time to recharge. Women especially say they could benefit from additional vacation days. Forty-four percent of women say they don’t have enough time off, compared to 31 percent of men.
The survey finds the average number of summer vacation days remains unchanged at 10. However, 12 percent of workers plan to take fewer days off than they did last summer. Among women, this number is 14 percent, compared to 10 percent of men.
How to Unplug
Accountemps offers tips for managers and professionals to help them unplug while on vacation.
- Promote the benefits of taking vacation. Managers should encourage their teams to disconnect during their time off to reap the full advantages of time away.
- Let colleagues know. Once your vacation request has been approved, give key contacts advanced notice about your time off. Wrap up projects and appoint a team member to handle your daily tasks in your absence. If you plan to truly disconnect, make it clear to your manager and team.
- Set boundaries. If you feel compelled to check in, set a schedule for the brief times you’ll be accessible and note it in your out-of-office reply. Try to avoid checking email outside of those hours so you can rest and recharge.
- Get back on track. Upon your return, schedule a quick meeting with your manager or team to get caught up on what you may have missed and what projects take priority.
With advance preparation, a vacation doesn’t have to turn into a workation.