More adults work while on vacation than ever before

More adults work while on vacation than ever before

Summary: 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.


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.

Topics: Mobility, Health, After Hours


Denise Amrich is a Registered Nurse, the health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, and a mentor for the Virtual Campus at Florida's Brevard Community College.

Nothing in this article is meant to be a substitute for medical advice, and shouldn't be considered as such. If you are in need of medical help, please see your doctor.

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  • I never permitted contact with work while on vacation.

    I told them that as far as they were concerned, I was vacationing in the biggest RF dead spot in the world, with no WiFi, no cellular, and no radio or television. I will never, ever check work e-mail, or answer work phone calls, because it disrespects my family to be so distracted while they want to have a nice time.
  • PTO

    I now wait until after the vacation to put in for the PTO time. That way if I am asked to, or forced to work during vacation, I then only put in for the actual time used during the vacation. I took a week of vacation 2 months ago, would have normally burned 5 days of PTO time, but ended up only having to burn 3 due to work related intrusions. However, there are times when I truly need to shut down and relax, then I turn OFF all of my devices.
  • Vacation, what is that?

    Unfortunatly for some of us, due to workforce shrinkage w/o the reduction in work loads & complete lack of depth or x-training & the "need" for your daily output, some of us are forced into bad situations. Myself I can only take my vacation time in 1/2 day chunks with the occasional complete day off (snuck in). The only time this year where I had 2 complete days off during the work week was during a manditory 2 day furlough.

    This week I am almost taking almost 2 whole days off. Work from home early Thursday & create some of Friday's output so then I can take off Friday. That way I don't have to find a WiFi spot somewhere near the campgrounds to work Friday morning (will still be heck to pay on Monday I'm sure).

    This situation makes it even more frustrating where I have earned 5 weeks of paid vacation, see many around me taking off entire weeks, yet I can't take a whole day off?
    (I know, sucks for me!)
  • life doesn't end without you

    You should hire the right people so things keep going for two weeks. If you boss just has to have you, you have the wrong boss. Most workers can step back but some also have that need to feel more important too. Try to reach me in Hawaii, just try...
  • Good people is not the issue.

    I work for a small company and like the rest of the team wear more than one hat. When I go on vacation there is no one to take over my responsibilities. Nothing gets purchased and customers don't get answers unless I take care of it. Often they are things that can wait until I return, but correspondence must be attended to.
    • "you got hit by a bus"

      If you're so important to the business, what happens if you were hit by a bus last night on the way home, this morning on your way to work, etc?

      Once the grieving is over, how will your shop run?

      My thoughts are that if people *don't * interact with work, and the work is still getting done, then they might seem expendable. x + 0 = x and no one wants to be the "0".
      Mihi Nomen Est
    • Word of the day

      "Crosstraining." Look it up, then apply it to your situation.

      If the place can run smoothly in your absence, that doesn't make you expendible, it makes you a good manager who had the foresight to do contingency planning and staff development. The work that doesn't get done in your absence won't be the important stuff you do, it will be the less important stuff minions do as they will do what they can to impress how well they handled the aspects of your job that you gave them.
  • When you take a vacation, TAKE A VACATION

    The article starts well, with grim stats and what amounts to a reckoning of fear on the part of vacationing employees who hear footsteps every time they turn their backs. But the article is also an indictment of far too many (stupid) employers who fail to understand that a rested, refreshed, re-energized employee is one of the best ones to have. Shame on all the needy slavedrivers who can't bear to be without a particular employee for a couple of weeks. The article is also, indirectly too, an indictment of thoughtless co-workers who bother vacationing employees. If those co-workers comport themselves that way, do they really think that they, in turn, won't be bothered when they take a vacation of their own?

    There is a growing list of employers, especially in large companies, who'd rather have us all working 12 hours per day for less money and resenting every minute we dare to take away from work. They'd have us all living in dorms and paid little more than minimum wage if they had their way. If you're still working while you're on vacation, then you're either feeling guilty about work you should have done or you failed to organize your work in anticipation of a vacation, or you're just too dumb to realize that a proper vacation - smartphone OFF unless it's needed to search for the nearest art gallery, restaurant or whatever - is one of the best things you can do in the midst of a hectic job or business career.

    Ms. Amrich's observation that "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" reeks of fear and insecurity (whether she meant it that way or not, whether she feels that way herself or not). Do your work, do it well, then take the time off unsullied by nattering managers or bossess or co-workers. You can thank me later.

    If you can't go on vacation with a clear conscience and really disconnect from work, you've likely got only yourself to blame.
    • RE: Fault

      If you are a top 10% producer where the employers have to respect your wishes or are lucky enough to have employer s who understands a rested staff is a productive staff your advice is sound. Otherwise the fear and insecurity you belittle others for having is reality. If most of us followed your advice we would get a permanent vacation because there are 50 or 100 people just as qualified as us who are willing to be on call 24/7 sitting in unemployment lines dying to replace those who want to stand their ground on principle.
  • But I Like What I'm Doing

    What if your work is your hobby and you are even getting paid for it? I'm an online professor of management in grad school and I have fantastic students that stimulate me mentally. Not being able to inteact with them in their learning and seeing them achieve new knowledge that can professionally aplly to their careers and be successful would be a downer. Your points are valid only if a person to "chained" to a job and feels obligation. However, I a person if librated by their contributions to society, it's not a job, it's living the good life and to distract someone from this by living out of a suitcase for some period of time becomes mentally depreciating.
    Jeff Tyler
  • People take vacations?

    My family and I have not been on a vacation in seven years. Its far too expensive and just pushes off all the tasks we need to do so that when we come back we end up killing ourselves for weeks. I'm not sure how other people can do it.

    It would be nice to get away for a weekend at least once.
    A Gray
  • Do fewer children "work while on vacation than ever before"

    Why is the headline qualified with the word "adults"?

    Do fewer children "work while on vacation than ever before"?
    • Naturally

      If fewer adults are enjoying vacation, that means children have less slack to pick up while the old folks veg for awhile.
  • Cloud to Blame?

    How much of this increase in working on vacation can be attributed to the ever-growing adoption of cloud computing by so many SMBs these days?

    I would imagine this has a lot to do with it. The biggest advantage to cloud computing is being able to access your files and data from anywhere, anytime and I see a ton of people biting off on this concept. Specifically accountants. I was recently reading about the flurry of accountants looking to adopt QuickBooks Hosting and Sage 50 hosting in record numbers... Probably helps to be able to give advice to a client who may not care if you are on vacation or not because they're still paying you.
  • Is A Workcation Part Of Your Playployment?

    Or is restxertion an unavoidable consequence of hiretirement?
  • Don't work while your on vacation.

    The whole point of a vacation is to take time off from the daily grind. Don't do anything that stresses you out! If you want to work on that project you couldn't do because your constantly at work that's fine but really i think the problem with America and in the world in general is that we don't really take proper time off from work. When we don't we start making mistakes, we become agitated and we can't think clearly. I seriously need like a month vacation away from work but, guess what? I can never do it because i constantly need to pay bills and i feel like i can't even take a proper vacation because of the lack of income i get. So take a vacation, when you take a vacation it's to do it, so you can re-energize. America always has to work, constant working constantly spending money and it's gotten out of hand.