Does Anyone in IT Truly Relax on Vacation?
Real getaways for IT pros? Not. Here's how IT managers manage themselves on vacation
Wed, July 24, 2013
One recent survey found that 67% of senior IT professionals are expected to be available during vacation, said TEKsystems, a staffing agency that conducted the research.
This percentage sounds low. Something in the range of 95% sounds more believable, but that's just a guesstimate based on telephone interviews and emails from some IT pros.
Everyone, it seems, does some work on vacation, unless they're joyriding with James Cameron 6.8 miles down into the cellphone signal-less depths of the Mariana Trench. On Mount Everest, at least, you can bring a satellite phone.
For IT pros such as Osvaldo de Lima, the CIO of ECOM Group, a 160-year-old multinational agriculture commodities trading and processing company, there is no escape from work, just accommodation.
De Lima keeps up with his emails, takes some calls, and says if he doesn't there will be too much waiting for him when he returns to the office. "[It is] to my own benefit," he said.
He will also delegate as much as possible. "Trust the team," de Lima said.
A vacation, nonetheless, says de Lima, still means he is not commuting to the office and is spending time with family. But you never fully put work aside. "That's the nature of our job; that's the profession that we chose," he said.
Brian Kelley, the CIO of Portage County IT Services in Ravenna, Ohio, said, "Work will always impede upon my vacations to some degree." Similar to de Lima, Kelley says that checking on things makes the return from vacation easier.
"By managing some work while on vacation, I can rest assured that when I return to work catching up will not be a major headache nor require that I put in long days to do so," he said.
Simon Wieczner, president and CEO of Snowbound Software, which makes document viewer technology, said vacations are "worth it, despite the interruptions."
"My goal is just to minimize the family time disrupted and remember that it would have been worse not to take the vacation at all," he said.
About 54% of managers expect work will be accomplished by employees during a vacation, according to a Harris Interactive survey of nearly 2,100 adults last month, commissioned by Ricoh Americas.
Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, the CEO and executive director at Tribe, an internal communications agency, said that many employees will stay connected unless they are encouraged to do otherwise.