The Working Vacation: The New Normal?

Craig Yaris is the chief social marketer at Social Ribbit. He can be reached at @CraigEYaris.

I am in Florida right now. I am meeting clients and investigating the possibility of an additional office to serve my clients better.

But, while I’ve been here, part of my plan was to take a vacation. I haven’t had one for over 2 years and this seemed the perfect time to do so. Sun, sand, surf. What more could you ask for?

The best laid plans of mice and men.

I’ve now been here for 3 weeks, and have not had a full day of being disconnected.

Every day, I speak with clients, work on proposals, manage social media accounts, and work on websites. There is something every day.

I wanted to be 100% disconnected while my family and I went to Disney World – but even that didn’t work! There was a client that needed something done, and it needed to be done ASAP. No rest for the weary.

Is our new connected 24/7 lifestyle healthy for us?

More importantly, why do we feel that we can’t disconnect?

I was recently asked, “What would happen if you were unreachable?”

Quickly replying, I couldn’t be unreachable.

“Wouldn’t they understand?” my friend asked.

They would. But, I still needed to be reachable.

We are linked to our smartphones and they never leave our sides. Men and women who take infrequent vacations have a higher mortality rate, especially from coronary heart disease (Framington Heart Study, 1992, Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 2000).

Why are we reluctant to detach?

A trusted colleague and I had a very long conversation about this topic, and even she (who works for a large company) checked email at least twice a day while on vacation. So, it can’t even be said that it is due to the increasing numbers of small business owners since the recession. Even those working for large companies only get hours to disconnect. Is that enough?

Sure, as I’m working, the view is incredible. Yes, I get to stare out at the ocean or watch my kids play in the pool as I work. Is that enough? I say no.

We need to re-establish normalcy.

We need to begin to take a close hard look at our work-life balance, and realize that we are only hurting ourselves. We can always get more money or more clients. But our health, there is only so much of that to go around.

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