A new survey shows that Americans continue to fail at taking time off. This year 52% plan to work on vacation, according to a survey released today by TeamViewer, which provides remote computer control and online meetings software. That’s up from 46% in a similar survey last year.
Nearly a third of the people surveyed this year said they will be reading work-related email, and nearly a quarter will receive work-related calls. Almost one in five will receive a text message about work.
Thirteen percent said they will be asked to work by their boss, a client or a colleague. Single employees are much more likely than their married co-workers to be call on to work on vacation, 15% compared with 6%. So be aware of that discrepancy before you contact someone who is supposed to be taking time off.
Let’s look at why people work on vacation and the solutions that can allow you to take a total break from the office:
- You are the only one who can do it. Every position—including yours—should have an up-to-date job description that explains what to do. You also can download a Vacation Planning Worksheet from the Free Reports section at OrganizedExecutive.com that will lead you through the process of ensuring everything is covered while you are away. (Remember to tell your colleagues where to find documents they will need. In the survey, 13% of the workers said they would be accessing a document on their work computer.)
- You don’t trust others. Whether you are in the office or on vacation, if you don’t feel like you can let go you might be a micromanager. Develop a plan to fully train your staff, which will build their skills and your confidence in them. Delegate tasks before you leave for vacation, so you can be available to answer questions and provide any necessary guidance. Then you will have proof that they can handle the job well, and you don’t need to work on vacation.
- You’re too easy to reach. Professor Randy Pausch became famous for his “last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University, but he also gave a great speech on time management at the University of Virginia. He knew that it wasn’t a vacation if you were reading email or answering calls. In that speech, Pausch explained that when he was getting married at age 39 and planned to take a month-long honeymoon, his dean said it was unacceptable to be unreachable for that long. So Paush left a lengthy voice-mail greeting that explained the situation and gave the name of his wife’s parents and where they lived. He didn’t give their phone number, requiring people to call directory assistance instead. The message ended with “And if you can convince my new in-laws that your emergency merits interrupting their only daughter’s honeymoon, they have our number.” For most situations Pausch recommended giving callers an alternate person to contact while you are away or instructions to call back when you return.
I’ll add that if you can’t stop yourself from checking messages, book a vacation where you won’t have Internet or mobile phone service.
Do you work on vacation? If so, why? If not, please share your tips.
[Image Source: Azureon2]