As I write this, the sun is starting to rise over the ocean and the only sound I can hear is the crashing waves. I couldn’t sleep so I got up early and decided to log onto the computer and check Facebook. Eventually, I couldn’t resist and I logged into my work email and took care of a few things.
Apparently I am not alone. According to a recent Harris Poll conducted for Teamviewer, more than half of employed Americans are working while on vacation this year (52%, up from 46% last year). 30% of us say we will read work-related email. To be honest, given the number of smart phones out there, I’m surprised that number is so low. I hardly know anyone who doesn’t check their work email when they are supposedly off the clock. I found another survey that said it’s closer to two-thirds of us; that sounds more like it!
According to the Harris/Teamviewer poll, other tasks people expected to do while on vacation include: receive work-related phone calls – 23%; access a document from a home computer – 19%; receive work-related text messages – 18%; access a document on a work computer – 13%; be asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague – 13%. I hate to say how many of these I’ve already done; and it’s only the second full day of our vacation.
I can convince myself that scratching a few items off of my To Do list will make it easier for me to relax when the rest of the household wakes up in a couple of hours. I think that’s why most of us do it…we’d rather check in and make sure everything is OK than waste precious vacation time worrying that it’s not. In our hyper-connected 21st century culture, it’s simply getting harder and harder to “unplug.”
On the other hand, so far on this vacation we’ve used smart phones for maps and directions, finding an ATM near the beach house, locating a wine shop, texting between the house and the beach (“Can you bring more water bottles when you come down?”) and much more. In fact, this entire vacation was planned via the Internet, since the primary planner works in London and she found the house through an online service. All told, five families were involved in the planning, and virtually all connected via email, Skype /or text.
Technology does make life easier, but makes relaxing harder! I find the trade-off is worth it. Do you?