That week in the sun. That stretch in the tent. It’s supposed to be downtime from the busy day job. We thought we’d stage a survey just to see how many people really do disconnect.
By Dan Slee
If you are on the beach checking your work emails the chances are you are not alone.
In fact, for comms, digital or PR people the out-of-office doesn’t mean out-of-range.
We thought we'd stage a quick snap unscientific survey to test out the theory and see how many people would admit to working while not working.
In our survey a whopping 45 per cent of people said the checked work emails, phone messages or did work.
Worst offenders were those who checked their work mobile several times a day – 22 per cent put their hand up to this.
Switch off entired 56 per cent
Take my work laptop on holiday - use once a day - 11 per cent
Take my work laptop on holiday - use once a week - 3 per cent
Take my work laptop on holiday - use several times a day 3 per cent
Take my work mobile on holiday - use once a day - 11 per cent
Take my work mobile on holiday - use several times a day - 3 per cent
Take my work mobile on holiday - use several times a day - 22 per cent
This raises the idea of holiday pics of you and your work mobile. There you are together, look. With your back to the Eifell Towerhunched over a small screen busily organising the new stationary order so your empire won't collapse in your absence. Or maybe the sub-genre of family pictures where you are missing or maybe just missing in mind.
Have I done it? Of course I have. One of the learning points of last year was realising that I needed to switch off from time to time to switch back on better.
Of course, the rot started with work blackberries. It got worse with work smartphones and laptops and ever present WiFi. You have to work hard to be in a place where there was no connection to the web. It’s great for the cricket score. But is it good for your health?
It’s not doing people good
Tour operators Kuoni and Nuffield Health ran a study a year or two back to assess the health impact of taking a break. Blood pressure dropped by six per cent amongst holiday makers compared to a two per cent rise with those who stayed at work. Sleep improved by 17 per cent amongst those who went away while it dipped by 14 per cent for those who carried on.
It’s not making people happy
In our survey 38 per cent they weren’t happy with the situation – double the rate who were happy to stay in touch with the office.
A snapshot of what people told us
“Don't like it. But alternative is worse.”
“While I don't take my work mobile or laptop away I use my personal mobile for work social media and am likely to check this, but unlikely to do action anything. Saying that, I don't actually have any holiday booked and not sure when I will be able to take annual leave. Have plenty to take, but a lot of work to do.”
“It is SO important to take a break - life is too important. It annoys me when employers expect me to be checking Twitter and Facebook accounts 24/7, but I only get paid to work seven hours a day.”
“I put my mobile number on my out of office and encourage people to call that if there's an emergency. So I'm not completely out of touch, but can totally switch off from monitoring emails etc. Works well!”
“Saves me time when I get back in terms of catching up on missed work.”
“I have a difficult relationship with 'holiday', but I'm mainly unplugging from Twitter this holiday.”
“I try to switch off for most of it, but the day or two before my holiday finishes I start to get worried about all of the things I'll face when I go back in, so have to log in to prepare myself. Ruins the last few days for me usually!”
“I will probably have a little nosy via my phone in this country but if going abroad I don't get Internet access deliberately.”
“Holidays should be relaxing, if you have good people you should trust them to manage in your absence, give them the skills to progress.”
“I don't take work with me but colleagues know they can text me if they need to ask me anything urgently.”
So what do you do? And what is your secret to relaxing on holiday?
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.