How many days can you go without checking your emails on holiday? None? If so, you’re not alone. A recent poll by Tots to Travel reveals that almost 60% of parents work during a family holiday. And out of those, 81% of partners were either annoyed – or just tolerated – at their other half working. Just 19% agreed it was OK to keep in touch with the office while by the pool.
There has been a backlash recently against working on holidays which really should be valuable “switch off” time. But while some of us take a digital detox (Christmas is another time when a lot of us well and truly switch off), it seems not enough of us are doing it.
Work has become the modern holiday saboteur as either one or both parents keep work ticking along during the most important family time of the year. In the poll, 87% said they’d prefer their partner not to work at all while the family is away and ironically a massive 82% of families rated quality time a top priority.
So when we’re going online instead of applying more sun cream, what are we getting up to? 64% of those interviewed said they check their emails at least once a day, while almost the same percentage said they work three hours or more during a holiday week.
Perhaps shockingly, only one in ten couples felt completely chilled during the holiday (11%) and almost 9 out of 10 felt fairly relaxed or not relaxed at all.
Holidays can be hard with young children, especially, but as Wendy Shand, founder of Tots to Travel and a mother of three herself, commented, “With technology at our fingertips, work and holiday have become intertwined. If your family holiday is to be relaxing then there needs be a much clearer divide.”
Another bugbear is the number of devices that end up at the beach, on the sofa, or by the pool. From smartphones to tablets, it seems we’re obsessed with keeping up with work when this is the one time we should forget about it.
Wendy continued “On past family holidays we’ve taken a whopping 12 devices, which were all connected to the Wi-Fi. This makes work just a click away throughout the holiday. As a working parent I’m now mindful of this so as to protect this precious time. I urge other parents to make a conscious decision to limit work whilst away, and to make a plan to keep it to an absolute minimum so as not to ruin their valuable family holiday.”
If you want to make your next timeshare holiday a proper digital detox, Tots To Travel has come up with the following five tips for enjoying a totally work-free family holiday:
- Consciously decide to give yourself a ‘work-free’ break, after all you will return fresher and more creative from a proper break.
- Communicate your intentions to your colleagues and to your family and make arrangements for others to cover for you; you can do the same for them in return.
- Set an auto-responder that clearly conveys that you will not be answering emails whilst on holiday and provide an alternative contact.
- In an emergency (and only in an emergency), suggest colleagues can text you.
- Keep the Wi-Fi switched off whilst on holiday and only switch on if you need to use your device to research your holiday – no sneaky peeks to check your emails!