Tuesday, June 3, 2008

One in Four Workers Plan to Work While on Vacation

I was in one of my favorite stores yesterday, TJ MAXX, and overheard a woman on her cell phone who was having a meltdown. She was with her daughter doing, what we later learned was, last minute shopping for a cruise she was leaving on today.

She was yelling into the cell phone that she could not come back to the office, she had so much to do and she had to go. Her daughter, clearly upset, took the mom's phone, told whoever was on the phone that her mother was not going to be able to come back to the facility now and that someone else will have to do it (not sure what "it" was). The daughter put away the phone and helped her mother calm down.

It was loud enough to draw an audience. General consensus of the crowd? Let it go. I thought about that on my way home and continued to think about that this morning. I wondered how many people experience trauma at work before taking a vacation. How many of us have bosses who call us all the time and want to know every detail of where we will go.

A little bit of research and sure enough CareerBuilder.com had recently published a survey on just that issue.

With cell phones, voicemail, email and mobile computing, going on vacation does not mean going on vacation - really! Everyone knows that time away from work can be energizing. What happens when you can't get away from the office?

Based on the survey results, vacation might actually be adding stress to some people's lives when they feel guilty about being away. In fact, the survey shows that "the stress of taking vacations may lead some to lie about ease of access at their vacation destinations. Seven percent workers said they have lied to their employers, claiming they couldn’t be reached on vacation."

Here are some highlights from this Career Builder survey:

- 25% of respondents said they plan to stay in contact with work while on vacation
- Industries made a difference. 50% of sales professionals work on vacation followed by 37% of both financial workers and IT workers.
- 15 % of employees gave up vacation time in 2007
- 12% of workers said they feel guilty when they are on vacation
- 6% felt that it could lead to them losing their jobs

Here is how workers plan to spend their vacations this year:
Workers plan to spend their vacations in a variety of ways, including:

Traveling (36%)
Visiting family and friends (24%)
Resting (20%)
Catching up on housework (8%)
Running errands (3%)

To reduce your stress at vacation time, set the tone about your availablity before you go. Less surprises, less workplace stress.

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