Andersen Consulting says a whopping 83 percent of people who
vacationed for a week or more stayed in touch with the office.
You're sprawled out on the beach sipping your drink, which, of course, is punctuated
by a colorful toothpick umbrella. You're bathing in the sun while waves lap
at your feet.
But something is still wrong.
You're miles away from home -- and that, in your hyperwired, information-overloaded
mind, is the problem.
Feeling disconnected from the office, you just can't resist tiptoeing across
the sand and up to your hotel room to check some work e-mail.
Sound familiar? You're not alone.
Workers are having more trouble than ever unwinding and unwiring themselves
while on vacation.
According to a study by Andersen Consulting, 83 percent of people who vacationed
for a week or more stayed in touch with the office.
Most checked voice mail, but 16 percent took a laptop, and most
of those used it to get their e-mails. One poor soul said he returned 300 e-mails
while supposedly getting some R&R.
And one out of every 25 people scored the keep-in-touch trifecta -- bringing
along a cell phone, a laptop and a pager on their vacation.
"Staying connected is increasingly becoming a fact of life in the new economy,"
Thomas H. Davenport, director of Andersen's Institute for Strategic Change,
said in a statement accompanying the study. Practicing 'triage'
Added Andersen Chief Scientist Glover Ferguson Jr.: "Overall, business has
extended into a new phase of a highly competitive, highly charged environment."
He said most people are contacting the office not to work, but to make sure
that important job tasks are handled by the right person in their absence.
"A lot of this e-mail access that occurs on vacation is exactly that -- triage,"
Among the other study findings:
- about one-third of the respondents said they were "not thrilled" at the
prospect of staying in touch, but recognized it was necessary;
- another 25 percent said they stayed connected so they didn't have to deal
with a backlog when they returned;
- and 25 percent said they were "grateful that we have the technology to
stay in touch."
Andersen conducted a telephone survey of 306 people from across the United
States whose household income totaled $75,000 or more. The respondents worked
in sectors ranging from health care to high technology to construction.