O'BRIEN: Getting away from the office while on vacation shouldn't be that difficult

Posted: Jul. 4, 2014 8:27 pm Updated: Sep. 26, 2014 9:15 pm

You may have noticed my name hasn't been in the paper much this week. If you did, thanks for noticing.

More than likely, you had no clue that I have been on vacation this week. The vacation is more of a staycation, but it's been nice to do whatever I want rather than work.

Sure, I've checked out what's been happening when I get my paper each day. When I take vacation time, I try not to do anything work-related. Thankfully, it's rare when anyone from the office bothers me while I'm gone.

Unfortunately, others out there just can't quite disconnect from the office when they're away from it.

According to a survey done by, some workers and most bosses still check in with the office when they're being paid to not be there. The survey found 25 percent of employees still check in with work when they're away. It's even worse if you're a boss, as 65 percent of those in management admit to still checking in with work when they're using vacation time.

Some of those same bosses expect those away from the office to be clued in to what is happening if a big project is brewing. The survey found 30 percent of bosses expected vacationing employees to contact the office if a big project or major event is happening.

I've always been a company guy. I had already finished my work shift on the day the Newcomb Hotel burned last fall. I had no problem coming in and asking if they needed help. If news breaks and needs fixed, I'm more than happy to lend a hand.

But I'm not sure that I can say the same thing when I'm on vacation. Vacation time is time for me and my family. It is good to get away from the office and not have to worry about work. One of the worst things I've ever done was have my work email sent to my smartphone, which I did when I was sports editor. It was like I never got away from the office because there were always scores and other items flowing into my phone.

The survey found that 31 percent of employees check email while they're on vacation. I'm firmly in the 69 percent of those who don't check their work email.

Some workers feel guilty they don't have their nose to the grindstone. Eleven percent of those who responded said they felt guilty that they weren't at work. On the flip side of that statistic, 8 percent of workers admitted to lying to an employer about not being accessible while they were on vacation.

Fourteen percent of those polled said they gave up vacation days because they didn't have time to use them all. That might be the No. 1 sign that you're a workaholic or that you're just flat out being abused by your employer.

Eight percent of workers say they've cut vacations short because of a work issue. If you're the boss and something big pops up while you're on vacation, I can see the need to get back. But if you happen to be a minion, there's never a need to end your vacation just to hustle back to the office.

If anyone has a complaint about what I've written here, I'll be looking forward to reading your email.

That will happen Monday when I get back into the office.


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