Does more digital tech mean more working vacations

For some people, it’s lying on a beach underneath the hot sun.

For others, it’s a breathtaking hike through a dense forest to find that perfect view. For others still, it’s grabbing a chair, booting up the laptop & enviously peeking out the window as they begin to piece together next week’s staff presentation.

Wait, what?

Vacations mean different things to different people, but most would agree it’s not a time to plug into work. In fact, 51% of workers said they’d rather get a root canal than work during vacation according to a 2013 online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Ricoh. And their families agree as 67% of these workers say that turning on the corporate hardware during vacation upsets those around them.

And yet, not much has changed in the 4 years since the survey was taken. Most of us find it difficult – even impossible – to disconnect, turning vacations into working vacations.

“Having” to work on vacation

Changing an attitude is difficult, even for companies with strong work-life balance policies. On one side, there are the 64% of employees who find comfort in checking email occasionally on vacation as it eases their return to work. On the other side, 54% say their bosses actually expect them to work while away! This is exacerbated by the fact that many employees are naturally distracted while working from a place where everyone else around them is enjoying their getaway, subsequently increasing the desire & stress to complete the task as soon as possible – all to the determinant of both the employee & employer.

But the challenge doesn’t end there. For those who “have” to work, the study revealed that less than one-fourth of workers say their employer doesn’t makes it easy to access work-related documents & necessary information to do their job appropriately.

This is a problem in today’s highly connected, ubiquitously digital world. After all, it’s bad enough when unavoidable work pops up during vacation time – but if it’s a challenge to work remotely, it’s not only aggravating for workers, it’s a drain on the business.

Making information mobile

Businesses must support their mobile employees if they are to succeed in the new world of work. In doing so, companies can ensure that those who choose – or need – to work while on vacation will spend significantly less time doing so, & boost productivity throughout the entire organisation.

How? Through Information Mobility: strong information management policies & processes, information security, a familiarity of new technologies, & an understanding of how today’s changing workforce uses technology & information to navigate the business landscape. In fact, a recent IDC study found that companies with Information Mobility see their employee productivity jump by 42% & earn an average of $7,210 more in increased annual revenue per employee. Why? Because information travels freely throughout your organisation, across platforms, verticals, & departments – even to your vacation home. It can be used to make the best possible business decisions in the shortest amount of time. And when you’re on Waikiki beach, working the shortest amount of time possible, while still being effective, sounds pretty good.

Getting collaborative

Where does your business start? It’s as easy as talking with your employees, your department leads, your executives – practically anyone at your company. That’s because, according to a TripAdvisor study 77% of employees worked while on vacation last year. Chances are that they’ve experienced this pain point, so ask them about it. If they had to work remotely on vacation, what were their biggest challenges? And what could be done to not only get rid of that pain point, but ensure that working on vacation is as rare a thing as possible? 

Collaboration tools can be a good first step to help remedy any communication & information access hurdles. Beyond just phone conferencing & screen sharing tools, companies can look at implementing video conferencing for face-to-face engagement, interactive whiteboards that stretch collaboration around the globe in real time, & even cloud-based document repositories for employees to share, store & download any of the critical information they need.

So, while it’s to no one’s benefit to work while on vacation, the occasions do arise. In today’s new world of work, be sure your technology & information processes are ready for however – and from wherever – your employees might need to use.


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