Working while on vacation more prevalent

Do you work when you’re supposed to be on vacation? You’re certainly not alone in this strange American past-time, and we have some new data that proves this. A full 68 percent of the chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed for a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey said they are in touch with the office at least once a week while on summer vacation.

That’s a 20 percent increase from a similar survey just three years ago.

These financial professionals are busier than ever, and they are not alone: another recent survey by travel industry research firm Skift found that 42 percent of Americans didn’t take any vacation days in 2014. The American Psychological Association also found that 44 percent of Americans check their work email every day while on vacation.

What is the matter with us? Doesn’t working while on vacation defeat the whole purpose of vacation?

Don’t worry, be relaxed

Robert Half suggests that you follow these tips, so you can worry less, and relax more:

  • Set expectations. Tell your colleagues how much, if at all, you plan to check in and when. In turn, they will be less likely to contact you outside of those times.
  • Tap your successor's help. Your vacation can be an opportune time for your protégé to take on higher-level projects and prepare for an expanded role. Make him or her your point person and the one you list on out-of-office messages.
  • Trust your team. Although there may be some matters that require your specific attention, let your staff handle as much as they can. Bring in interim professionals to help keep key projects on track.
  • Manage your return. While scheduling a vacation at a good time for the company is a no-brainer, also make sure your return is well-planned. For example, give yourself an extra day so you don't go straight from a red-eye flight to the office.
  • Ease back into work. Allocate time when you return to catching up on email and other outstanding issues. Avoid too many meetings or commitments your first few days back in the office.

Vacations can be a great tool in your career arsenal. They reduce burnout, inspire creative thinking and arm you with great stories to tell your colleagues throughout the year. Besides, with so many people skipping vacations these day, taking one makes you look like a big-shot.

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