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June 05, 2002
Enjoy Your Vacation - But Stay in Touch
Increasingly, employers are requiring employees to keep in touch while on vacation. And more workers are forgoing vacations entirely because of financial concerns or too much work at the office.
The newspaper gives both statistical and anecdotal evidence of the trend:
- At Crossbow Group, a Westport, Conn.-based marketing services firm, all employees are asked to leave contact information. They must also let the firm know where they're going to be. Company President Jay Bower told USA Today: "As a senior manager, I don't go anywhere I can't be reached."
- At Mindbridge Software in Worcester, Mass., a Web site has been set up that vacationing employees can use to connect to the office. "It's important for the company that no one is really ever out of touch," says Scott Testa, at Mindbridge. "The dark side is, some people may feel, 'It's vacation, I take it to get away from work.'"
- Forty percent of managers are now required to leave their itinerary or contact numbers with the office while on vacation, according to a May survey by the American Management Association. Nearly 19% must contact the office even while away. That's up from last year, when about 35% were required to leave such information behind.
- Two in five Americans will not take a summer vacation this year, according to a study by Stamford, Conn.-based market research firm InsightExpress. The main reasons: tight household budgets and an inability to get away from the office due to heavier workloads.
"The reason people aren't taking vacations isn't due to threats and security issues," says Lee Smith, chief operating officer at InsightExpress. "That's what surprised us."
Some experts tell USA Today there are real dangers with the practice of keeping tabs during a downturn, especially as the requirement spreads from the managerial to employee ranks.
"There are fewer people to do more work. The person who covered for you on vacation isn't there anymore," says Robert Morgan, at Spherion, a provider of customized staffing solutions based in Fort Lauderdale. "Burnout is a real danger. People need to refresh."
ting away from it all is getting a whole lot tougher for American workers, according to USA Today.