Gone are the days when “checking in” referred exclusively to something done at the airport or upon arrival at a hotel. Now, thanks to the rise of digital media and mobile technology, employees are frequently “checking in” at work from departure lounges and holiday resorts while on vacation. Physically speaking, they may be out of the office. But digitally, they’re still very much online.
Taking a vacation means vacating the office…
It isn’t necessarily a positive thing. After all, a vacation should constitute time away from work. This means actually vacating the office in order to come back refreshed and re-energized; both physically and digitally. We are not machines, we are human beings. But like machines, we too need to switch off, unplug and recharge every so often. 69 percent of respondents said they believe employees would perform better, and 67 percent said employees would be more engaged if they took more time off.
Many employees take their work with them on vacation because they’re afraid of falling behind or think nobody else can do their job while they’re away. Because of this, an estimated 21% of U.S. workers left vacation days on the table this past year, and their reasons ran the gamut from having too many pressing deadlines to take time off to fearing backlash from their colleagues or managers. Additionally, 40% of men and 30% of women have stated they plan to work while on vacation this summer, according to new data from Wrike.
However, responsibilities should be delegated in such a way that, when employees take time off, they do not feel pressured to check their emails all the time; or, worse still, tend to tasks that should have been left in the office. The Society for Human Resource Management even said, “They should encourage their people to use their leave, ‘unplug’ if possible and take a break from the work, even if it’s just a day or two every few months.” This time off can help them refresh and re-energize, making them more productive when they come back.
…But the same can’t be said for social media
However, you cannot leave social media in the workplace. If anything, employees are even more active on social networks when they are on vacation. Also, following company accounts creates a link between personal and professional networks; and company content appears on employees’ newsfeeds whether they are logging on from their desk or signing in on the beach.
This overlap means that engaging with company content should be something employees feel motivated to do; and not something they feel obliged to keep on top of while they are away. Which is often the case with other work responsibilities. However, if you decide to regularly check emails, social media, and other work-related tasks while on vacation – setting limits is a necessity. Many employees like to stay connected to make sure their work isn’t piling up, easing their transition back to the office after vacation; but, make sure to enjoy your vacation at the same time so you come back more motivated to work.
Also, social media engagement is not work in the “report back to the boss”, “tick it off the to-do list” sense of the word; but is a voluntary activity that enables employees to engage with company activity as and when they wish.
The same goes all the time, not just when it comes to vacations. They say your work shouldn’t follow you home. But the ideal company culture is one in which employees are genuinely interested in the company at large and have a desire to engage with social media content, whether they are in “work mode” or not.