More CFOs 'Unplugging' while on Vacation
by Terri Eyden on
By AccountingWEB Staff
A significant number of CFOs will leave the office completely behind as they take their summer getaway vacations, according to a new Robert Half Management Resources survey. Fifty-one percent of CFOs interviewed said they don't check in with the office at all while on vacation. That's nearly double the reported 26 percent in a 2010 survey.
CFOs were asked, "During your summer vacation, how often do you typically check in with the office?"
Their responses this year
- Several times a day: 8 percent
- Once or twice a day: 11 percent
- Several times a week: 13 percent
- Once or twice a week: 2 percent
- Don't check in: 51 percent
- Don't know/no answer: 1 percent
Responses in 2010
- Several times a day: 18 percent
- Once or twice a day: 15 percent
- Several times a week: 12 percent
- Once or twice a week: 26 percent
- Don't check in: 26 percent
- Don't know/no answer: 5 percent
Paul McDonald, a senior executive director with Robert Half, noted that the continued trend of unplugging on vacation is good news. "It may indicate that executives have a stronger level of confidence in their teams and processes, and as a result, feel more comfortable skipping regular check-ins," he said. "With the prevalence of wireless networks and mobile devices, they know they can be reached easily if needed."
Time off Boosts Productivity
Executives were asked, "In your opinion, are employees more productive before or after a vacation?" Their responses:
- After a vacation: 51 percent
- Before a vacation: 31 percent
- No difference: 14 percent
- Don't know/other: 4 percent
So, if you're feeling guilty about spending time away from the office this summer, you probably shouldn't. You actually may be doing your company a favor.
- Max Messmer, Accountemps Chairman, author of Managing Your Career for Dummies
There are extra benefits to checking out, McDonald added. "Placing trust in a solid team to carry on without your guidance can help you identify potential candidates for succession planning and promotion."
Still, not every executive feels comfortable disconnecting entirely, as evidenced by the higher number of CFOs (27 percent) planning to touch base several times a week compared to 12 percent in 2010. "Many leaders continue to oversee lean teams and need to monitor critical initiatives over the summer months, making frequent contact necessary," McDonald added.
While not every executive has the ability to unplug completely, those who can should. "By stepping away completely, people are more likely to gain the restorative benefits of vacation and return to the office recharged and more productive," McDonald noted. "Managers also set a positive example when they disconnect, since employees may be inclined to follow suit."
- Set and stick with your out-of-office messages. If you say you're not checking in, but then begin returning messages on vacation, you send mixed signals. If you're inaccessible, stay that way.
- Clarify what constitutes a crisis. Your definition of a crisis may be different from those on your team. Be clear with staff about what situations require escalation and the person who should handle them. If you expect to be notified of emergencies, provide a way for people to reach you quickly.
- Limit surprises. Don't expect staff to "wing it" while you're away. Set people up for success in your absence by giving them a heads up on what issues may arise and how they can address them.
- Acknowledge great work. On your return, thank the people who helped the office run smoothly in your absence, including your assistant. Make note of their efforts in their next performance review.
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, a provider of senior-level finance, accounting, and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with twenty or more employees.
- Why Bother to Go on Vacation at All?
- Most Financial Officers Keep in Touch with Office during Vacation
You may like these other stories...
For the first time in the five-year history of Vault.com’s rankings of the top 50 accounting firms to work for in North America, a firm has held the top spot as best accounting employer for two consecutive years....
Legislation coming out of Washington just might reduce homeowners' burden for disaster insurance. It's a topic very much on everyone's minds since the mudslide in Oso, Washington. The loss of human life was...
Many firms these days claim the bulk of their new business comes from referrals, essentially saying their existing clients do all the business development for them. But this won't work unless you can build true client...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.