Working while Working – and while on Vacation, too?

I just read one post in a newsletter about working during working hours and doing something else when not working during working hours. Wow, with 27 years now in this business and with me being a home business for 15 years, thinking about not working seems, well, kind of crazy.

And my position seems to be supported by a new Harris / Adweek poll that says that 52% of Americans will work during their summer vacation this year.

I guess that means that they will actually take a summer vacation.

The survey showed that working people are expecting to perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Reading work-related emails – 30%
  • Receiving work-related phone calls – 23%
  • Accessing documents on home computer – 19%
  • Receiving work-related text messages – 18%
  • Accessing documents on work computer – 13%
  • Asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague – 13%

I know that when I was camping in Zion and Bryce Canyons two years ago, I was one of those working boys! I was checking email every day even when I had to walk to the Concession Area to get wifi access. And I am sure that this will get worse over time. Heck, I remember the time when the little downtown retail stores closed on Wednesday afternoons so the owners and employees could be with families, play golf, etc. And open on Sunday? No Way. Now, it is literally 24 / 7 and with the websites, anyone can shop from anywhere at any time.

Scott at Zion and at Bryce

Me, I think this is bad. I know that I should take some time off, just to fire up the creative juices. But workers in the US burn the candle at both ends (and they do it for less money and more pressure and no healthcare – do you also see a long-term problem here?).

If you can, work work into business, like presenting at a conference in Barbados and taking a few days surrounding that program to network and do other business development stuff:

Working at sunset on the beach in Barbados

So, get things done but try to keep things in balance.

My joke about Governor Nikki Haley, who is pushing to eliminate unions and create more jobs here in South Carolina, is that she is trying to create enough jobs so both partners in the marriage can have both of the jobs they need to support their families.  But that is a different storyline…

But understand that things are shifting when it comes to working. Only 40% of US employees even took a summer vacation last year and half of this group admitted that they planned or did work during their vacation (Harris / Adweek).

Another interesting finding comes from a CareerBuilder survey which shows that while 81% of managers plan or have taken a vacation break this year, only 65% of full-time employees have plans to do the same. While companies may understand the issues of health and success that come from “refreshed” employees, the day to day job demands may be precluding this from actually happening. An Expedia 2011 Vacation Deprivation Survey showed that US employees are beginning to “treat vacation as a luxury rather than a fact of life.”

And last year, over 200 million earned vacation days were not utilized by those who earned them.

I am not sure where all this eventually ends, but I know that my workweek has always been long and I feel a bit guilty when I am not working. And I work for myself – it is not like I worry about my job security and how my taking time off might appear to my supervisor insofar as it reflects on my dedication.

I think the Europeans have a much better perspective on all this. (While I sit here working after working all weekend… Go figure.)

Have some FUN out there! (Yeah, me, too.)

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant.
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

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