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Stress Management

Workers Often Pack Their Laptops During Summer Getaways

In a tough economy that demands the highest level of worker productivity, you may find yourself juggling work and fun during a well-earned vacation.

Forty percent of workers say they stay in touch with their jobs when on vacation, and 22 percent say their companies expect them to stay in contact, according to a CareerBuilder poll of more than 3,000 respondents.

"It's today's reality — work often gets in the way of vacation fun," said Kate Dawson, a carer expert with CareerBuilder. "Managed properly, nothing recharges the mind and body like a vacation — a benefit for employers and employees. However, vacations can be a source of stress if time away isn't pre-planned."

For most, vacations are meaningful and beneficial breaks from normal work routines; 99 percent of the respondents said vacations help them relieve stress and maintain good health, the survey found. When they returned to work after a vacation, 51 percent said they were "re-energized and ready to get back to work, the survey noted.

However, 22 percent said they were depressed about their jobs and being back at work, and 14 percent said they return "daydreaming about the vacation and distracted from work," according to the survey.

"While you're gone, deadlines continue to loom. It's vitally important to take care of loose ends before you leave," Dawson noted. "That way, you can completely enjoy your vacation, without worries. That's the healthiest way to go on vacation."

To minimize work interruptions and maximize opportunities for relaxation, Dawson urges vacationing workers to:

  • Give plenty of notice about vacation dates.
  • Brainstorm with key team members and vendors for ways to handle any breakdowns, questions or issues that could arise while you're away.
  • Establish a single, reliable mode of communication — such as e-mail, voice mail or cell phone — and make it clear when and how often you'll be checking in.
  • Leave an emergency contact number if your job is mission-critical.
  • Minimize work distractions by establishing designated check-in times while you're on vacation.
  • "It's important to be a team player, but it's also essential to allow yourself to get completely away from work worries," Dawson said. "The best strategy is to leave for vacation with strategies in place to handle disruptions. That way, you won't have work doubts hanging over your head the whole time you're away."

    Dawson said wireless devices and voice mail have made it simple for you to stay in touch during breaks; respondents said they are most likely to use company voice mail (66 percent), work e-mail (54 percent) or cell phone, pager or other mobile device (47 percent) , the survey reported.

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