Vacation is Stressful When Workers are Constantly Checking In

By: Jude Carter

Summer is just days away. The kids are itching to be sprung from school. Remember that last day of school feeling, when the whole summer stretched before you, filled with possibilities for fun?

Well, maybe we need to take a lesson from our kids. American workers have become flunkies in the vacation department. According to a recent survey from Expedia.com, only 53% of us come back rested and rejuvenated after vacation.

Once again, we can try and blame it on technology. It’s way too easy to bring our Blackberries to the beach, to text and twitter from the trail, and Skype from the stadiums. Or we can say that it’s fear-based, as workers continue to be concerned about job security, and therefore feel the need to prove their value by being available 24/7. (Careerbuilder.com says 49% of employers expect workers to check in while away.) Perhaps it’s cultural. The Europeans have long shaken their heads at our obsessive work habits. They covet their month-long vacations. Or maybe, just maybe, our employees are playing follow-the-leader.

Do you even take vacation? And if you do, how often do you check in? Does your company have any kind of a policy on how much (or little) you want to hear from employees?

Edward T. Creagan, who writes the Mayo Clinic’s stress blog, has it right when he says
“We’re driving ourselves wacko with no time to power down.”

Have we lost all sense of perspective? Are these workaholic tendencies really improving workplace productivity and contributing to the bottom line? Or is this “fear of relaxation” fueling worker stress and the associated health problems it creates? (Gee, now there’s something that really impacts the bottom line!)

Wall Street Journal Article

Sharon Toelle
June 16, 2010

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