Packing the suitcases and setting off on vacation doesn't necessarily mean that IT executives are able to completely disconnect while away from work, but they are enjoying more downtime. Though they still feel the need to check in at least once a day, more executives say that their staff are well equipped to deal with critical situations.
According to a recent survey conducted by TekSystems, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions, "Just 13 percent of senior-level IT professionals say they feel obligated to be accessible 24/7 during a normal work week in 2015, a significant drop from the 61 percent that said the same the previous year."
Those that are checking in admit that the motivation is either to reduce the overwhelming number of emails that they will return to or a bit of a character flaw in that they can't let go.
Shaun Miller, Information Security Officer at Bank of Labor, admits that he checks in two to three times a day, "partly because things nag at me. I want to check to see no emails. I'm usually checking in for peace of mind." Miller said that while his work phone is normally forwarded to his cell phone, he turns that forwarding off while on vacation.
While on vacation, Miller sets up an out of office message on his email and he relies on his staff to take care of critical issues. "In my absence," he said, "three members of a steering committee are able to sign off on changes and there is an approval process for others to take care of issues."
Though Miller usually checks in while on vacation, there were a couple of times when he was forced to completely disconnect. "One was on a cruise. I put my phone in the safe and had no access," Miller said. "The second time I was out of the country but had no access to email."
Apparently, the cruise ship is the best place to go if you want to completely disconnect from work as David MacLeod, vice president of Information Technology and CISO at Zenith American Solutions, also was forced to put his phone aside and accept his fate of not being able to check in at all while he and his wife were aboard a cruise ship some years ago.
MacLeod also talked about the massive number of emails that can accumulate while he's away, which does cause him to worry about what he will return to. "I can receive 2,500 to 3,000 emails, so I try to wake up early to knock these out," said MacLeod.
Part of the problem with disconnecting during summer vacation is that everyone else is also on summer vacation. "My wife and I went to Mexico in February, and I was completely relaxed," MacLeod said, "the most relaxing vacation that I've been able to enjoy are those I have taken off season."
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