CareerBuilder recently surveyed almost 6,000 workers and discovered that 12 percent of them say they feel guilty theyre not at work when theyre on vacation. The key to a guilt-free working vacation is building work activities around your familys or companions schedule knowing when to check in and field calls and when to disconnect. If its before family awakes, thats palatable. If its mid-day during a zip-line excursion, thats a problem. Its also important to avoid anything complex that will pull you out of vacation mode.
Cristy Leon-Rivero, chief marketing and merchandising officer with Navarro Discount Pharmacy, discovered that working on vacation means she can take a full week off, but she and her husband tag team so their three children dont feel short-changed when their parents connect to their offices.
I might say, Watch the kids for a minute Im going to get on a call or he might do the same, but we keep our family activities time-protected. Even on a beach escape, Leon-Rivero says it takes at least a week to let go of stress and relax. She believes time away from the office pays off. The best ideas happen outside the office.
With the return of longer vacations, more companies are going toward unlimited vacation policies, convinced it leads to better productivity and engagement. Tech companies, such as Evernote and small-business loan-finder Lendio, both on the West Coast, have told their employees they wont be tracking the amount of time they take off, just their individual results. When announcing the policy change, Brock Blake, cofounder and CEO of Lendio said, I trust all of you to do your job and take the time off you need.
Others who have tried similar approaches have had positive results. Two years after instituting its vacation policy, the web service Hubspot found the company has been ranked as the #2 fastest-growing software company on the Inc. 500. The same goes for website GoHealthInsurance.com, which claimed a 200% increase in growth over the last year.
But such free-wheeling policies dont work for every type of firm. Mayi de la Vega, Founder and CEO of One Sothebys in South Florida, says if she took long vacations and went completely off the grid, she would lose business. But she can combine business with pleasure.
This summer, when she took a week off to vacation in Aspen, she used her getaway to build new relationships with potential Florida buyers. While away, De la Vega organized a Burger Bash at an Aspen lodge for vacationing professionals and area residents, teaming up as host with Sothebys affiliates in Colorado and Florida. She also attended getting-to-know-you meetings with the marketing director at an Aspen condo/hotel project.
The key: people who own homes in Aspen often also want homes in Miami. I would wake up and go for a bike ride on the Rio Grande trail or take a nice hike. Then I would come back and go to a meeting in my gym clothes. Back in Miami, she says she feels completely rested and invigorated. Im ready to go back to 14 hour days.
Here in South Florida, my husband and I are still negotiating our summer vacation. But I think I have him convinced that a longer break in work routine pays off particularly if we intend to stay connected with our jobs.
Workplace columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Connect with her at email@example.com or worklifebalancingact.com.