We’ve all been guilty of this: checking in at the office while on vacation.
While doctors say there can be enormous health benefits to unplugging, research shows that only a small percentage of employees actually disconnect when on vacation.
According to PGi, a video and web conferencing company which conducted a survey of customers during June and July 2013, only 10 percent reported they "never" check in with the office, and another eight percent reported they were unable to take a vacation.
“The survey findings illustrate an increasingly accepted norm in which the lines between work and personal lives are blurring,” Sean O'Brien, PGi’s executive vice president of strategy and communications. “It’s indicative of a trend we’re seeing in the market as ‘work’ becomes less about the place you go, but more closely aligned with getting the job done.”
According to the survey, 40 percent of respondents say smartphones are the most common device employees bring with them to stay connected to work. Laptops come in at 11 percent, while tablets come in at 4 percent.
As you prepare to head out on your Labor Day weekend, here are a few things you can leave work at the office and take a real break from our technology-saturated lives:
1. Bring an old-fashioned camera
If you normally take pictures with your phone, use a digital camera instead. If you don’t have a digital camera, a good old fashioned SLR (the one where you use real film) or disposable one will work just fine. You’ll be less tempted to share images on Facebook and other photo sharing platforms if you don’t have access to it.
2. Scrap your apps
Addicted to killing time with Temple Run or on Facebook? Delete the apps from your phone before you leave. Don’t worry; you can reinstall them after you get back.
3. Do Internet-related searches before you leave
Go into pre-planning mode and research all your maps, site locations and restaurant recommendations before you leave. Take a real travel guidebook for backup-- and then leave your cell phone at the hotel –or better yet, at home.
4. Set a time to check voice mail
You put your out-of-office message on your office email account, but on occasion, you may have to check in with work to deal with an emergency. To protect your down time, set up a time of day when you can respond to urgent voice and mail messages. But remember to stick to it.
5. Allow time for re-entry
Knowing that you have hundreds of unread emails waiting for you the Monday you’re back from vacation can ruin your vacation. That’s why you should allot some time amid your unpacking to go through emails and reconnect with your team. You can set up a time and date ahead of time so the first day back isn’t a scramble.