Vacation is supposedly a time for relaxation and rejuvenation away from the office, but a new survey of more than 1,000 U.S. employees suggests that we’re not feeling very good anymore when we unplug.
In fact, many of us are not unplugging from work while we’re away at all.
According to a new survey by networking company Pertino, nearly one half of Americans say they are less stressed on vacation when they are connected to the office. And so, nearly 60% of the polled employees confessed that they regularly work — check e-mail, take calls, etc. — while on vacation.
So, if this is the new normal in our mobile-connected world, let’s look at how Americans are staying in touch with the office this summer, and what that means for the business owners for whom they work.
Employee Vacations Have Changed
One reason that employees work from vacation is that mobile tech has made the office only a click or swipe away.
In fact, 36% of the employees polled said that the beach was their office while on vacation, thanks largely to the ever present smartphone and tablet. Combined, these devices account for 81% of the ways workers connect when it comes to putting in hours from their vacation spots.
And while many are working from the locations where they’re supposed to be relaxing, the numbers tip a bit in terms of who is doing all this extra-office labor.
- 64% of the men polled said they logged in from vacation.
- 57% of the women polled said that working from vacation was now a norm.
The Vacation Security Problem: Why Business Owners Should Care
One problem with all of this remote connectivity is not so much that business owners are against the productivity that it breeds, but it’s that the way these employees are logging on can pose a threat. Here’s what the survey revealed about that:
- 32% of work-from-vacation employees are using unsanctioned or unsecured cloud-file sharing services to access business-related data.
- 35% of the employees in the survey are simply taking their devices away, loaded with important business files.
Neither of these are scenarios that small-business owners or IT departments want to face.
Rule one, when it comes to vacationing employees and remote access: your business’s policy has to be that they only log in via networks that provide authentication and encryption of traffic over public Wi-Fi and the Internet.
The Healthy Employee: Division of Labor and Play
Beyond the potential of compromised data, another overarching problem of employees working from vacation is that, long-term, they’re courting burnout.
What to do? Encourage healthy vacation habits when it comes to working off the clock.
If it’s almost impossible for many employees, especially senior managers and IT pros, to completely unwind while away, then a key to getting relaxed can sometimes be to not unplug.
But vacationing employees should instead develop a schedule that segregates work and play times. Communicate this division of hours to your family and work associates, then keep to it. Set aside a designated time everyday to connect with office and then spend the rest of the time focused on fun in the sun.