Even on vacation, workers can’t escape their jobs

Even on vacation, workers can’t escape their jobs

Nutritional experts recommend that everyone eats a bushel of vegetables each day and a serving of protein no bigger than a thimble. (I’m paraphrasing.) Also, throw in different oils to balance out your diet. Don’t forget to get your 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise each day. And a little meditation or quiet time to yourself is important each night. If you do everything you’re supposed to be doing in order to be healthy and happy, you wouldn’t have time to do anything else, such as enjoy your healthy and happy lifestyle.

Working parents love their children and want them to eat healthfully, but sometimes they end up buying a bucket of fried chicken on the drive home from work (or soccer practice or gymnastics) because there isn’t enough time in the day to prepare a homemade meal. It’s just the hectic world we live in and what we should be doing doesn’t always align with what we end up doing.

To that end, the following news might not shock you: 30 percent of workers will contact their offices while on vacation this year. That means what should be their mental hiatus from the daily grind will actually just be another day at the office “ only on a beach or at an amusement park instead of a desk. Last year only 25 percent of workers said the same thing.

In today’s stress-filled, understaffed, highly competitive workplace, work-free vacations are nice ideas but not always pragmatic. You might have even expected the amount of people checking in with work on vacation to be higher.

What’s the problem?
First, what’s more problematic than having to work on vacation is the fact that 24 percent of workers say they are unable to take a vacation this year because they simply can’t afford it. This is a small increase of the 21 percent who said the same thing last year.

Of workers who can take vacations, 12 percent have no plans to take one this year. Meanwhile another 12 percent of workers say they feel guilty that they’re vacationing and not working when they take a holiday. Perhaps they are worried that another worker is going to usurp their roles. If you knew 33 percent of hiring managers receive more than 100 applications for each summer job opening, you’d probably be looking over your shoulder, too. Or considering that many organizations are still œdoing more with less, workers might be unable to take vacation because there isn’t someone else to pick up the slack while they’re away. there’s always the possibility that the boss is just a bad person who doesn’t make vacationing easy, though we prefer to think most bosses are great people. (One good sign from the survey is that 36 percent of workers feel comfortable taking vacations this year than they did last year, so hopefully that trend continues.)

Any combination of the above could explain why 24 percent of workers say they’ve had to stay and work while their families went on vacation. In addition, 16 percent of workers lost vacation days in 2010 because they never had time to use them. Sigh. Basically, everyone knows they should be eating vegetables, but they can’t avoid the greasy foods.

You need a vacation
Listen, there are very reasonable reasons workers can’t take vacation. Not to mention there are many job seekers are undoubtedly thinking, œI wish I had a job I could take a vacation from! Fair enough. However, for anyone with the means to take a few days from work and completely unplug from your job, do it. It benefits you, your family, your friends, and your job, which could theoretically affect your paycheck.

Earlier this year tech magazine Wired ran a great blog post on the importance of vacations. The article and the study it looks at are worth reading, but it closes with this excellent thought:

œToo often, we fail to consider the ways in which our surroundings constrain our creativity. When we are always ˜close’ to the problems of work, when we never silence our phones or stop responding to e-mail, we get trapped into certain mental habits. We assume that there is no other way to think about things, that this is how it must always be done. It’s not until we’re napping by the pool with a pia colada in hand ” when work seems a million miles away ” that we suddenly find the answer we’ve needed all along.

Surely you’ve had one of those œa-ha moments when you were dozing off or in the middle of a movie. Whether it was an idea for a school project, a work problem, or a personal issue that had stumped you, those light-bulb moments happen when you’re not thinking about it. Aside from the fact that you earned those vacation days and owe it to yourself to take a mental breather now and then, you also can improve your work performance as a result. A little relaxing can lead to new ideas which can lead to business success.