The family and I took a short vacation that wasn't a short staycation. Yes, we actually went somewhere this time in a quest to show our children that there's a lot more Virginia past the Ikea at Potomac Mills. You locals know what I mean. Anyway, they had a blast touring Bob McDonnell territory, which does very well on election night until Northern Virginia bothers to show up. It was an on-the-cheap, you-can-do-this-or-that-but-not-both economy vacation for sure, but the kids had a blast, which is what counts.
But now their exhausted parents need a post-vacation vacation to recover from the actual vacation because traveling with young children isn't really much of a vacation. You parents know what I mean. And I find blogging to be very relaxing, so let's get back to our regularly-scheduled bloggramming.
Let's talk about employee vacation trends! Man, did I see a lot of people "on vacation" but obliviously working on their iPads while their kids were in the pool yelling, "look at me, look at me!" It's right on trend with a recent TeamViewer/Harris Interactive survey that says 52% of U.S. workers will be working on vacation this summer. Or were the vacationeers around me scrolling through Chapter 7 of 50 Shades Of Gray? Who knows, but I did see a lot of perimenopausal women reading it unabashedly in paperback by the pool.
Of course, they're the ones who dared the get away from it all, because CareerBuilder tells us that only 65% of U.S. employees will take a vacation this year, a 15% drop since the comparatively heady workdays of 2007. Many employees are afraid of losing their jobs, but roughly one-fifth (19%) told CareerBuilder that they can't afford to go on vacation anymore. It's simply gotten too expensive. They'll just watch the endless loop of Sandals commercials, thank you very much. Time of my life, indeed -- especially if you work for Research In Motion.
So who is going on vacation right now? The boss. That's right, people: the boss is the most likely employee to go on vacation this summer.
My advice to managers? Keep your vacations relatively short and never, ever brag about them unless you want employee morale to sink to Motel 6 levels. Seriously, your vacation-less employees who are trying to take a totally impossible vacation at the office don't want to be slaving away while receiving multiple emails a day from your optics-challenged self that read something like this:
Sure enjoying the sights around St. Johns -- such great restaurants, gorgeous weather, and the beaches are so beautiful this time of year! Not sure we can see everything this place has to offer in a ten-day time frame! Sitting here on the beach reminds me of our vacation here last Christmas, only better! P.S.: Is that report done yet? I'm going to need a draft by 4 p.m. today. Thx.Grrr. Just, no. Don't go there in this economy, because all you're doing is rubbing it in, sort of like Mitt Romney steering one of his expensive power boats past one of his many vacation homes. It's the grown-up version of "look at me, look at me!" only without the handstand in the pool.
The problem is, employees are looking up from their iPads to take note of the boss's poolside adventures. If you're a boss in this economy, then you might as well go ahead and cut employees a little bit of slack if you're giving yourself permission to have some. Maybe that 4 p.m. draft deadline can wait one more day, or until you get back (hint, hint)? Not everything can wait, but a few things can. Sure, you're having the time of your life, but it feels like we're still in recession time and you don't want to look like you're having the best of times in the worst of times, if you know what I mean. Pondering how you can lighten up a little bit while you're gone might help employee morale stay at La Quinta levels. I'm not sure what that means, either. It's time to do the laundry, if you know what I mean.