Gadgets bring the office on vacation

Most executives tote their cell phones and other devices on trips, and the majority say they can't resist checking in with work, according to a recent survey.

2 min read
Four out of five executives say they remain tethered to the office during vacation, thanks to their menageries of electronic gadgets.

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According to a survey released Tuesday by Irvine, Calif.-based peripheral hardware manufacturer IOgear, 82 percent of respondents said they "can't resist" checking e-mail, sending instant messages or making calls from their cell phones for business purposes while on holiday. The average executive in the survey spent about 30 minutes each vacation day working.

Nearly all executives surveyed bring their cell phones on vacation, and 68 percent said they carried at least one additional piece of computer equipment, according to the survey. About two in five bring two or more pieces of hardware with them on vacation--typically laptops, handheld computers, portable storage devices and mice.

"Many executives choose to stay connected even on vacation, and by spending a couple of minutes each day checking e-mails, it gives them the peace of mind to enjoy the remainder of their free time," said Miranda Su, vice president of sales and marketing at IOgear. "It also ensures business doesn't grind to a standstill, while eliminating a huge backlog for executives to deal with the first day back at work."

But others aren't so bullish on executives' penchant for blending work and play.

Alan Cohen, a psychologist who oversees "Life Choices" seminars for business executives in Maui, said businesspeople who are terminally tethered to the office face higher rates of burnout and depression than those who truly check out. In his new book, "Why Your Life Sucks," Cohen blames America's 24-7 work culture as one reason why many executives become stressed out and unhappy--especially in the technology sector.

"I agree that pace of technology changes so quickly that many people believe they can't afford time out," Cohen said in an interview last week. "But what they don't realize is that vacation and downtime makes you even sharper.

"I have a friend who convinced his boss, who was the top executive, to take a day off a week. The guy did and said that his creativity and freshness from just that one day off made him so much more productive. It's the missing link that most people don't get: that soul renewal is actually good for you professionally," Cohen said.