Are summer vacations where you completely unplug and disconnect from the office a thing of the past? They might be, if recent research is any indicator.
A survey by staffing firm Accountemps shows “workations” may be more common for accounting and finance professionals today than they were in the past.
According to the survey, 54 percent of workers said they usually check in with the office at least once or twice a week during their vacation, up from 41 percent just one year ago. However, just 15 percent of professionals said they touch base once or twice a day, down from 21 percent last year.
Reasons for checking in with the boss include:
• Having peace of mind that things were under control (54 percent) • Making sure projects were moving forward (53 percent) • Avoiding coming back to extra work (47 percent) • Preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress (34 percent)
“When possible, use your vacation time to its fullest potential by unplugging from the office,” Michael Steinitz, executive director for Accountemps, said in a written statement. “This helps you come back to work recharged and with fresh perspective.”
But the reality is, many professionals find it extremely difficult to completely disconnect while on vacation, he noted.
“Employees who feel the need to connect with work should set clear boundaries to minimize the time they spend attending to office duties,” Steinitz said.
Other key findings from the survey include:
• Accounting and finance professionals plan to take an average of 10 vacation days this summer – unchanged from 2016’s survey. • Thirty percent said they plan to take more vacation time this summer compared to last year. Forty-one percent of workers between the ages of 18 and 34 plan on taking more time off, compared to 25 percent of workers ages 35 to 54 and only 16 percent of respondents ages 55 and older. • Twelve percent said they plan to take fewer days off than they did last summer. Only 10 percent of male workers plan to take less vacation time, compared to 14 percent of female workers. • More than one-third (37 percent) said they could use more time to recharge their batteries. Forty-four percent of females said they don’t have enough time off versus 31 percent of males. • Forty-seven percent of total respondents said they don’t check in at all while on vacation. Sixty percent of workers 55 and older don’t connect with the office during their break, compared to 52 percent of respondents ages 35 to 54 and 38 percent of workers ages 18 to 34.
So, what can managers and professionals do to unplug while on vacation? Accountemps offers these four tips:
1. Promote the benefits of taking vacation. Managers should encourage their teams to disconnect during their time off to reap the full advantages of time away.
2. Let colleagues know. Once your vacation request has been approved, give key contacts advance notice of your time off. Wrap up projects and appoint a team member to handle your daily tasks in your absence. If you plan to truly disconnect, make it clear to your manager and team.
3. Set boundaries. If you feel compelled to check in, set a schedule for the brief times you’ll be accessible and note it in your out-of-office reply. Try to avoid checking email outside of those hours so you can rest and recharge.
4. Get back on track. Upon your return, schedule a quick meeting with your manager or team to get caught up on what you may have missed and what projects are a priority.