Enjoy your weekend? Great. Get this: you get no more vacations

 

The title of this post is meant to get your attention, I hope it did. 🙂

Over the weekend, I read two articles related to the end of vacations in America as we know them. The best one was penned by pal James Kendrick, titled BYOD: Death of the nonworking vacation.

As most people I know, I bring along technology when I go on vacation. I bring an iPad to watch movies and sometimes my MacBook Air so i can do a little writing during quiet time. As tech is a hobby for me, I like to have it along when I go away for a weekend.

Increasingly though, as Americans bring along their tech, they’re giving up their vacations and doing more work in the process. That is, they’re answering work email, calling in to conference calls and otherwise dealing with work issues. This is on top of the fact that we’re constantly tethered to the office day and night via our smartphones.

As James says in his post,

Getting away from work is vitally important to our mental health, and vacations should be the best way to do that. We only have ourselves to blame when we work on vacation, but with BYOD getting bigger care needs to be taken that the movement doesn’t make working on vacation an expectation.

For me, I actually switch phones on the weekend.  My primary phone is my Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone, but on the weekend I switch my SIM into my Nokia N8. Why? For starters, the camera is better on the N8 and most importantly…I don’t sync my work email to my N8!

As a result, I take a mental break during Saturday and Sunday by not seeing work-related emails that might stream in or by seeing my Monday work calendar on my phone. If something big comes up at work – my co-workers can text me, otherwise I’m offline Saturday and Sunday and enjoying my family.

Americans are already known for working way too much and not taking vacations (and fully being present while on vacation) is a huge, huge problem!

I have three messages to give to three audiences on this subject:

  1. To working men and women: You owe it to your family to go on vacation. Your kids, spouses or friends (whoever you’re vacationing with) need you fully present while on holiday – seize the opportunity to disconnect from work for your vacation time. The work will happen without you there and it will be there when you get back!
  2. To managers and supervisors: You owe it to your employees to ensure they get vacation time while they are on holiday. Strive to not call or email them when they’re gone. Also, model this behavior! If we employees see our bosses disconnecting while on vacation, we’ll follow suit.
  3. To companies and HR departments: Please let employees go on holiday without feeling pressured to ‘check-in’.  We only get 2 or 3 weeks of vacation per year..so please let us enjoy it.

Ok – I’m off the soap box now.

What about you – do you sync your work email while on vacation?

Photo credit: Stefano

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