Chris Smith, Greater Fort Worth PRSA President
Speaking of summer vacation, a new poll shows that 54 percent of U.S. adults are expected by their bosses to “stay connected” during their time away from the workplace, though 51 percent would prefer a root canal.
I have conflicting thoughts on this. On the one hand, I loathe working while on vacation. It’s supposed to be down time, time for recreational diversion. Our hectic lifestyles and information-overloaded brains need rebooting time. Didn’t Newton’s theory on gravitation occur to him while taking a break and watching an apple fall from a tree?
On the other hand, crises could be averted and important questions answered. Huge missed opportunities could cause later regret, which is partly why I’ve set up two work meetings while on vacation this year. In my defense however, these are overseas meetings and rare opportunities to meet clients and colleagues face to face. Plus, it’s just two days out of 15, so no pity party needed.
Still, things used to be different. Vacation was down time and work was work time. But I suppose that was then and this is now. As a Forbes’ contributor once wrote: “Maybe we need to accept the fact that the sharp demarcation between work and home is a thing of the past, and that the new normal is a life that integrates home and work more seamlessly.” This concept is something we independent consultants know very well, having our own love-hate relationship with the ever-blurring dividing lines.
So, what is your policy? Do you read emails while on vacation? Do you take media calls? Why or why not? We’ll be asking this question on our Facebook page and look forward to hearing your responses.
Til August, carpe solem!