Vacating the Workplace


The economic woes may not be over yet, but times have changed enough for more employees to enjoy summer vacations in the coming months. So say the workplace experts at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

I do, however, have a problem with the advice on staying connected even while away. Read on.

According to John Challenger, "Where we will see the change this year is among the employed who, despite their job status, were hesitant to take paid leave during the recession for fear that it would further erode their already fragile job security. This year, while employers have been slow to ramp up hiring, they have clearly shifted from a strategy focused on downsizing to one emphasizing retention. In this environment, it is much easier to put in for vacation days."

Through the first quarter of this year, announced job cuts declined 69% from the same period a year ago. In fact, the first-quarter total was the lowest for those three months since 2000. And the 38,326 job cuts in April were the lowest for any month since July 2006.

"The threat of downsizing never really disappears," Challenger adds, "but job security is in a much better place this year. Some employers may, in fact, encourage workers to use vacation time to decompress. The temporary and very mild impact on workplace productivity caused by vacationing staff is more than offset by a rested workforced that is likely to be more productive over the long term and probably more loyal as well."

The workplace authority says that while job security is improving, it is still recommended that employees keep the lines of communication open with employers.

"You don’t have to spend a part of every vacation day working, but you want to take your cell phone and laptop and make an effort to occasionally check in with the office. If you want to be missed a lot, do not disconnect," Challenger says. "As employers shift toward retention mode, many will be eager to let you enjoy your vacation without interruptions from work, but make no mistake, your efforts to remain connected, even if unecessary, will be appreciated and remembered."

Not sure I buy that last piece of advice. Being available for true emergencies, if needed, is one thing. But checking in for the sake of showing you are still engaged while you are supposed to be resting and rejuvenating is another. There’s a reason it’s called vacation.