They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I never really thought this could apply to work, but it does. I’ve just returned to PPC Associates from my first extended vacation in two years, and while I thought I wouldn’t miss the place, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It didn’t hurt that I’d changed cell plans to support travel abroad, but something tells me I would’ve found a way to get online anyway.
As the 9-5 has been redefined (or eliminated), so has the concept of vacation. Given our dependence on gadgets and electronics, downtime is referred to as “unplugging.” If you’re unplugged, there are no AdWords UIs and email threads to check in on. The problem is that we use most of the same devices even if we aren’t working. If you can’t unplug from all technology, you’ll find your way back to work tools – it’s just too easy. Hell, my personal gmail is next to my work account on my iPhone. Short of disconnecting my work account from my iPhone temporarily, there’s nothing stopping me from checking work emails right after personal ones.
You might say: Stop checking personal email. Great thought, but I like the idea of keeping in touch with relatives (didn’t hurt that I got engaged on this trip) and staying connected. In this case, in for a penny, in for a pound. I don’t think there’s middle ground at all – if you’re checking email, why not check it all? It beats coming home to 5,000 messages.
Inbox flooding aside, I think it’s the same desire to stay connected that makes it reasonable to check work emails while on the road and ultimately makes you long for home (and work). We spend more time with our colleagues than with some of our best friends. Unless you absolutely abhor your colleagues, why not stay connected in the most basic capacity? Some might call it work, but in reality, it’s just fostering bonds and relationships through technology. If those relationships are good, you’re bound to miss the place and want to come back…recharged.
- Sean Marshall, Director of Client Services