Welcome to Workation Nation

With Labor Day weekend fast approaching here in the US, workers across the country are trying to squeeze in that last trip to the beach or weekend with friends to recoup and recharge for the rest of the year. Time off is essential for work-life balance and, quite frankly, our sanity; I’m insistent on my team making the most of their time off so they can return refreshed and ready to work.

However, only a small amount of workers truly disconnect on vacation. PGi recently conducted our first “Workation Nation” survey, securing over 500 responses from our customers on their work habits during vacations, and the results are quite telling. 42% of employees are checking in with the office daily while on vacation, with 40% checking in multiple times a day. The summer workation is the new normal:

I know the pull of the office all too well—as EVP of Strategy and Communications here at PGi, I’m rarely afforded the opportunity to completely unplug. It takes a conscious effort to take a trip with my wife and daughters without emails and meetings interrupting things.

Our survey found several other factors contributing to the Workation Nation:

Tablets and Smartphones are Must-Pack Items

One of the primary drivers of the Workation Nation is obvious: the ubiquity of mobile devices. Smartphones, at 40%, are the most common devices that workers use to stay connected on their summer workations, followed by laptops at 11% and tablets at 4%. And 37% of respondents bring all three devices on their vacations!

With the proliferation of Bring-your-own-Device work environments, our mobile devices increasingly blur the line between personal and professional.  You’ve already got your smartphone with you at the beach for your Instagram photos and your Facebook updates, and your work email is right there, effortlessly accessible.

If managed properly, mobile devices are a great way to quickly and unobtrusively check in, answer questions and get right back to relaxing without missing a beat.

Easier Than Ever to Connect

Email isn’t the only way we’re staying connected while on our summer workations: 65% of our survey participants have joined or hosted a meeting from a mobile device. And these aren’t simply conference calls—92% have participated in a web conference on a mobile device while on vacation. The ease of meeting virtually from a laptop, smartphone or tablet means that you can get away when work obligations might otherwise have kept you stuck in the office.

Tools like iMeet® and GlobalMeet®, with apps for the iPad®, iPhone® and Android™ smartphones, bring all of the productivity and connection of an in-person meeting to you wherever you are. Join your team’s weekly status call from your beach chair. Run a quick PowerPoint presentation from the airport terminal. Meet anywhere, anytime and on any device, just as effortlessly as you launch your favorite game or social media app to pass the time or unwind.

Just consider leaving your webcam off, so that your office-bound coworkers don’t get too jealous.

About Sean O'Brien

Sean O’Brien is PGi’s Chief Administrative Officer. He oversees the company’s Legal, HR and Program Management organizations and manages Corporate Development, M&A and Acquisition Integration. In addition, Mr. O’Brien leads Corporate Strategy, Executive Communications and Global Facilities Management.

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