(Not) Getting Away

Man on beach with laptopHow did your last vacation go? It seems too many of us have forgotten what "vacation" means. We haul our laptops, mobile phones and PDAs with us so our temporary relocation won't interfere with the work in progress. An article at the Globe and Mail sums up the hidden cost of vacationing as "a heavier workload, worries while away and a re-entry burn so severe that no apres-sun cream can soothe it." We find ourselves at "the beck and call of a technology-driven work environment that has quickened the work cycle to a punishing pace."

Everyone I know understands this complaint. What can we do about it? Maybe, as the article suggests, airlines could "search your bags and confiscate anything suspiciously work-related: 'I'm sorry, sir, you simply can't take the Smithers file with you.'" More realistically, can more managers learn to give people permission to take a break that restores and reinvigorates instead of upping the stress level?