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Insightful Surveys

Do you really have a choice about working on vacation?

working vacations

You're on vacation in your favorite tropical paradise and on your way to the beach when your phone rings. It's your boss. Do you answer? Or, it's the last day of vacation and you're debating whether or not to check email because you know how much time you'll spend digging out your first day back at work. Do you dive in? Mobile technology makes it difficult to separate work and vacation, doesn't it?

Many U.S. adults believe they don't have a choice about working while they're on vacation. This is one of the findings of a study commissioned by Ricoh Americas Corporation and conducted online by Harris Poll from April 29 to May 1, 2013 among 2,071 U.S. adults, age 18+. In fact, 54% of those who took the survey say bosses expect you to work on vacation, although 51% would rather get a root canal than work during vacation.

Who pays the price for working vacations?

Both employers and workers pay the price, so the trend of working vacations is a big concern. Workers (and their families) don't get to fully relax and recharge, and information management practices can affect the quality and timeliness of the work.

67% of the survey respondents say that family members get upset when loved ones work on vacation. Yet for 64%, checking email eases the return to work. Let's say that you go ahead and check email and need to revise a document. Well, good luck with that. Only 24% of workers say their employer makes it easy to access work-related documents from home or a remote location. And only 14% of the survey respondents who use a smartphone or tablet can easily print work files from their device. Clearly, information is not flowing in ways that assist productivity.

It's healthier to disconnect

Gen Yers—digitally connected from birth—are on their way to becoming the majority in the workforce. They don't realize that being constantly connected can harm their relationships and health. Older workers, who have paid the price of working vacations, are in a great position to speak up, influence company policy and reverse the trend.

Workers see employers as more desirable when they encourage employees to disconnect on vacation. And in situations when working on vacation is unavoidable, the most sought-after employers make mobile access easy.

Are you rethinking your workforce strategies? Find out what other employers are doing.

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