What Vacation? To Unplug or Not Unplug that is the Question

A day off from work no longer means a vacation. Many workers are spending their days off doing stressful things, such as chores or caring for family. Trouble is, we all need downtime to recharge our bodies and our minds.”

– Marjorie Savage, absence management director with The Hartford, quoted by

This is a great quote that I know I am very guilty of myself. With the availability of technology today it can be difficult to unplug from work and stop checking email. I often find myself checking email and responding to email from my phone while watching T.V or doing some other mundane tasks. All of it with the idea that it is somehow making me more efficient in my job.

I think what the quote gets at is a good point – do people ever unplug and are we really better off by always being tuned into work? Does it help us or just the company? Ultimately it may help both but at this point I am not sure. I love technology so the thought of being unplugged is somewhat terrifying, although I do look forward to the day of chucking my phone into the Des Moines river and sailing off into retirement someday.

I have to think though that we should push our employees as much as we can to enjoy their time away and “please” don’t check your email. I think hearing that from the company may let them know it is OK to enjoy their time away, although the psychology of people being what it is they may not allow themselves to stop. So is it an addiction? That is possible so another suggestion is encouraging them to leave their phone at home.

As managers we need to do or best to respect the role of work in our employees lives, while also valuing their time away. If you have other suggestions or thoughts on this subject – SPEAK UP! I would love to hear them.

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