It is safe to say Summer is finally here. As an individual that grew up in the Central New York area, I can say without a bit of doubt that this is a season that us CNY’ers have earned.
Not only is this a time to enjoy High School and College graduations, but it is also the season that many employees have been counting down to, in anticipation of a planned summer vacation.
We all know that P.T.O stands for Paid Time Off. It is probably one of the most commonly used and understood acronyms in America. Three wonderful letters. However, many employees often feel pressure to continue to log in “work hours” during their vacation time. P.T.O., newly defined as Paid Time On?
We are in an age where it is common to see a 12 year old with the latest iPhone, and more uncommon to see a 20 something without one. Therefore, you can only imagine what a high percentage of employees also carry smart phones with them on a daily basis, allowing them to check email and voicemail while at work-but also on vacation. In 2012, the New York Times reported that 44 percent of cellphone owners slept with their phones next to their bed. Per an article published last summer by the Better Business Bureau, over 50% of employed Americans worked while they were on vacation.
Million dollar business transactions can be easily closed with the click of a mouse and employees can still make that Monday morning meeting, while sitting on a beach, thanks to programs like Skype and FaceTime. However, despite the obvious beneficial factors of these convenient tech features, are they doing just as much harm as good?
We all have stressful lives and hard days at work. Vacation is often a well deserved and required “mental break” for individuals to recharge, so they can come back to work refreshed and rejuvenated. A time to leave behind stresses and simply unwind. Unfortunately, many employees may feel the need to continue to “work” so they do not fall too behind or appear to be “slacking”. Check their email before breakfast. Call the office a few times to check in. FaceTime in for a meeting.
Where is the work/life balance line drawn?
As an employer, when your employee comes to you asking for P.T.O, make sure your employee understands what the companies expectations are for that individual, while on vacation. Emphasize that it is OK if they do not check their work email 6 times a day, while on the beach in Maui. Reiterate that they do not need to call into the office 9 times, between sightseeing tours in Europe. Lets face it, that tropical glow you brought back from Tahiti will not be worth it if you return to work just as tired as when you left!