Smart or sad? One-third of us work during vacation to enjoy vacation

Respondents claimed it made them more productive during the summer if they didn’t stop working completely. It may seem counterintuitive to the concept of a relaxing vacation, but some of us feel like we need to keep working on our breaks to feel less stressed about work.

When we go on vacation, some of us are unable to completely leave our work behind us. According to a Wrike survey of 1,000 American employees, one-third of employees intend on being available to work on vacation.

Why on Earth would they do this? The respondents claimed it made them more productive during the summer if they didn’t stop working completely. It may seem counterintuitive to the concept of a relaxing vacation, but some of us feel like we need to keep working on our breaks to feel less stressed about work.

Survey: We can’t enjoy vacation if we feel like there’s work to be done

The reasons these vacation workers gave for working varied across age and gender lines. Men said they worked during their off-time because they “can enjoy vacation better knowing things are going OK at work” and “to prevent something from falling through the cracks.” Women, meanwhile, were more likely to say it was because they “don’t mind checking in” and “it helps returning to work feel less stressful.”

Each of these answers, in one form or another, is the answer a work martyr gives. Work martyrs are the employees who want to go above and beyond what is expected of them. This may seem honorable, but it is also a point of insecurity. Project: Time Off, which analyzes Americans’ annual vacation habits, defines work martyrs as “employees who find it difficult or do not take time off because they feel no one else can do their job.” They may worry that without them, the whole office will burn down and that they will pay the price for it.

Overall, women planned to take fewer consecutive vacation days, but they were more likely than men to use that precious time off unplugged and uninterrupted by work emails. Forty percent of men intended to work during travel, compared to 30% of women.

Age also makes a difference on your vacation outlook. Out of all the demographics surveyed, millennials were the most likely to take the lead from their employers on how to vacation. They were the group that was the most likely to work on vacation if they saw their bosses doing the same. If you’re a manager, take note. You can help your employees disconnect from their work if you show that it’s important for you too.

These vacation workers claim that it helps them enjoy their vacation more if they check in from time to time, but research proves the opposite. Doing work on vacation can actually wipe out your relaxing vacation memories. People who checked work emails for just one hour a day during vacation became 43% more likely to not be able to remember the details of their vacation, according to one study.

To fully enjoy your vacation, put your phone done and delete your work apps. Your vacation will thank you.

Monica Torres|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com.