Clinicians and psychologists recommend taking regular breaks from the grind to re-energize and regenerate. In fact, if you look at the word "recreation," you can see it as "re-creation."
Unfortunately, courtesy of the wonders of the digital world, fewer of us are taking complete breaks from work. According to Human Resource Executive Online, the folks at TeamViewer did a study about how people work while on vacation.
According to TeamViewer GM Holger Felgner, 61 percent of employed Americans will "spend time on work-related tasks during their summer vacation this year." That's up from last year, when only 52 percent of employees said they'd be on the grind while on vacation. For digital natives, the millennials out there, 79 percent say they'll need to take a work-capable device with them on vacation.
A different take on the question of working when you're supposed to be playing was explored by Harris Interactive in June. They say that 38 percent of adults expect to read work-related email while on vacation. I find this to be no real surprise, because my husband can't seem to go more than 15 minutes before he has an overwhelming need to check his email. To be fair, he's often on call, but still -- an email check is as regular as clockwork.
Harris reports that 32 percent of adults look for "work-related access to a document on a work or home computer; 30 percent expected work-related calls and 24 percent thought they would receive work-related text messages. Another 20 percent reported they anticipated that a boss, client or colleague would ask them to work during their summer vacation."
Going back to the TeamViewer report, GM Felgner claims most employees plan to bring up to three "work-capable devices with them" when they vacation this summer.
That shoots the post-PC concept right out of the water. My guess is we're talking smartphone, tablet, and laptop. If we were truly in a post-PC world, that number would probably be two devices.
Here's my advice to you.
In today's challenging economic times and competitive work environment, you might not feel it's okay to simply ignore work for the duration of your vacation. But do set parameters. Tell your co-workers (and your boss) that you'll check mail in the morning and at night and that you're available to answer questions but not do projects remotely. Most projects can wait a few days, especially if you've already briefed everyone (including your clients) about your vacation time.
Here's another trick. If you and your co-workers are on Google Calendar, set up a special vacation calendar and share with everyone when you each have PTO (personal time off). That way, it won't come as a surprise to anyone.
Then go. Go on vacation. Re-energize. Re-generate. And re-create. It's not only good for you, a better, healthier, saner you is good for your employer, their clients, and your co-workers.