Do You Answer Emails On Vacation?

10 years ago

If you do, you're not alone. Rebecca Coggan at Exalt Creativity shared the findings of AOL's fourth annual Email Addiction Survey. Few Surprises here. Email addiction has jumped 15% in the past year - up to 46% of people who self select themselves as addicted.( I'm assuming that there are many more addicts who are just in denial)

Lots of entertaining stuff here.The statistic that I was most interested in today was the vacation statistic.

More than 50% said they check their email while on vacation. It's even higher among mobile users.78% of those who have a mobile device check email while on vacation.

The AP-ipsos poll came up with some different findings as reported by Dory Devlin of Simply Stated:technology.

Last year, one in five people packed a laptop along with sunscreen and swimsuits, according to an AP-Ipsos poll. And one in five used it to do some work, while 40 percent checked work email messages and 50 percent checked voice mail. This year, there are signs that some of us are saying enough. An Orbitz poll found that 29 percent of respondents feel compelled to stay connected with work while on vacation compared with 33 percent last year. And 64 percent of soon-to-be vacationers said they would not check email while away, up from 60 percent. Younger workers (ages 18 - 34) were more likely to stay connected than travelers age 55 and over. Little surprise there.

A couple of weeks ago my colleague Lethia Owens was giving a speech about personal branding and shared an experience she had as a new manager. When she and her family went on vacation to Hawaii she woke up at 4:00 a.m.every morning Hawaii time to answer emails and voicemails. By the time her family woke up, she was ready to spend the day with them.

When she returned to work, her manager called in her and said she was really disappointed with her. Lethia was taken aback and immediately thought, " what more could I have done, I was on email for several hours every day!"

But, her manager wasn't upset because of the time she had put in doing email, her boss was upset that she was doing any email during her vacation. Her message to Lethia was,if you, as a manager, don't disconnect while on vacation, you are sending a message to everyone who reports to you that they have to stay connected as well.

The manager went on to say that by staying on email during vacation you are basically saying, "you don't trust your team to make decisions without you."

Is it that we are such control freaks that we can't empower our teams to make decisions in our absence? Do we not trust them? Or,is it that we want to be perceived as indespensable just in case of downsizings?

How many people have bosses like Lethia who say, leave the Blackberry and laptop at home when you go on vacation?

Not many. However, in England at least one law firm is forbiding its attorneys from taking their blackberry's on vacation.

From Ronda Muir at Law People

Linklaters is reported having decreed, in a fit of concern for work/life balance, that lawyers leave their Blackberrys at home while on holiday (vacation to us).The order is designed to insulate associates, in particular, from the relentless rat race for a few sweet weeks a year, according to management. "Sometimes it's the small things that count," one partner averred. While another lawyer confessed that "I feel naked without my Blackberry and there are times when you just have to be reachable."Whether the firm is successful in enforcing this edict is not yet clear.

Can you image an American law firm that would even attempt to implement that kind of policy? Why should they? They have a workforce that doesn't cost them vacation time.

It's a sweet, albeit pitiful deal.

My question to you is, how would you react if your boss forbid you from answering emails on vacation?

Would you be grateful or concerned that you should start looking for a new job?

Elana writes about business culture at FunnyBusiness

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