Taking a vacation off season, especially for those families with school-aged children isn't always an option, though. "It's difficult because families want to take vacations during the summer because kids are out of school, but summer is also the time when the people I depend on are also out of the office. My A team may also be on vacation," MacLeod said.
Trusting that their best players are at the helm while they are away from the office is one reason why executives are able to feel more at ease and either minimize their checking in or completely disconnect.
Will moving to a cloud-based infrastructure help executives achieve a better work-life balance?
Randy Kuehntopp, vice president of Information Technology at PRONERVE, is one executive who has learned to completely disconnect. He credits this shift to the cloud for his ability to enjoy downtime without potential issues nagging at him while on vacation.
"We completely redid the architecture and completely changed everything. Our uptime was not good, but now we have a cloud-based infrastructure with 100 percent uptime. We outsourced all of our critical infrastructure, even our phone system," said Kuehntopp.
But Jennifer Minella vice president of engineering at Carolina Advanced Digital, said, "Even hosted stuff can be problematic, especially from the security side because at the executive level, you're still responsible for the security."
That haunting feeling of a disastrous situation occurring is not an easy one to ignore. Yet knowing that they can trust their team to deal with critical issues takes the pressure off while they are trying to achieve a work-life balance.
"I put a lot of stock into a work-life balance," said Minella. She admits that learning to disconnect was a process for her, but she realized that she needed to change her habits and mindset.
Many have the intention of leaving work at work, but the need for peace of mind or the fear of disaster keeps them connected, especially when they have access to work email on their phones, which are always with them. "I'd tell myself that I was just going to check my mail to stay ahead of the curve and delete the junk," said Minella, "but checking it wasn't putting me ahead, it was putting me behind."
"It's like a diet," said Minella. "If it's not sustainable it won't work."
What is the best diet for disconnecting?
"Take little bites," Minella said. "I started by trying not to look at my email at night. I wake up at about 4:30 a.m., so it was only about four hours to start, but I realized that nothing happened during those four hours." Minella admits that she is much better about being able to resist the urge to check in, though the only time she has completely disconnected was about 10 years ago while on a (wait for it) cruise.
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