Be Honest: Do You Completely Unplug on Your Vacation?

Do you lug your laptop, smartphone and other technology halfway around the world to keep up with what you are supposed to be getting away from?

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I got “away” a few weeks ago, but seems like getting “away” just might mean being somewhere else with the same feeling of connectedness. How many of us lug our laptops, smartphones, and other technology halfway around the world in an attempt to keep up with what we are supposed to be getting away from? And, is this the new norm? Do we unplug or stay connected on vacation?

According to a survey by the folks at Prosper Mobile Insights 78.8 percent of mobile users who go on vacation say they take a smartphone or tablet with them and use it all the time, while 18.9 percent take their device and rarely use it, and only 2.2 percent say they leave their devices at home. Which of these buckets do you fall into?

Totally Connected

These folks basically move their laptops and smartphones to the beach, the slopes or wherever they go. In an article on CNN Health, Kate Muller, director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center says, “Surrounded by computers and handheld devices at work and at home, people are accustomed to having e-mail within reach nearly all day, making it hard to shift gears on vacation.”

I fall squarely into this bucket because even though I may be away from my email marketing company VerticalResponse, I need to keep my teams moving forward andgetting stuff done. But, I try to keep it balanced. When my husband John and I go on vacation, we make it a habit to work a few hours in the morning, then we head out for our day, and work a few more hours at night. Depending on the time change we may shift this around, but by using this approach, we know our teams are getting what they need and we don’t fall behind by being away. It works for us, but it may not be right for everyone.

If you feel the need to stay connected, you can manage it by designating specific work hours. That way you can tell your team when you’ll be available and able to be reached. And, your travel mates will know when you’ll be off limits and can make plans accordingly.

Passive Connected

The passive connectors are the folks that like to have their devices available, and will even check their email while on vacation, but they don’t reply or respond. They use it more as a way to stay in the know. If you’re like many people who dread the thought of coming back to an inbox of thousands of emails, you can use this passive connected path to triage your inbox and stay up-to-date, but stay out of the fray.

Totally Unplugged

Our Sr. Marketing Automation Manager Brian, prefers to completely unplug when he gets out of town. He used to bring his devices everywhere, checking them incessantly. When he changed jobs recently, he used it as an opportunity to set new boundaries for  himself and he’s happy he did. Now when he goes home at night, or on a vacation; the laptop stays behind and he doesn’t check his work e-mail. He figures if it is an emergency, we’ve got his number.

If this is how you roll, enjoy the opportunity to unplug, relax and unwind. “Vacations help us mentally and spiritually recharge, so we can return to our businesses with new ideas, energy and focus,” says Dave Morton, CEO of The Spinnaker Group, Inc. “A proper work/play balance while on vacation is key to returning home well-refreshed.”

Do you bring your devices when you go on vacation, or do you send them packing? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick

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