Staying in touch with work
SIKESTON -- Keeping in touch with the office -- and a little bit of work -- while on vacation are a given for Brandy Mason, an insurance agent at Farm Bureau in Sikeston.
"It's basically just issues that I have personally dealt with that no one in the office knows about," said Mason. "It would probably take me about five minutes to complete it whereas it may take them about at extra 15 to 20 to figure out who to talk to."
A growing number of workers face the same situation. According to an AP-
Ipsos poll released Friday, one in five people took laptop computers on their most recent vacations. Eighty percent took along cell phones.
The poll found about 20 percent did some work while vacationing, with the same number checking office messages or calling to check in. About 40 percent checked their e-mail, and half of those polled kept up with personal messages such as voice mail.
Attorney Pete Burns of Burns, Taylor, Heckemeyer and Green LLC in Sikeston said once was enough to take his laptop on vacation with him. "It's just too hard to lug around," he said. However, he does have a smart phone, which enables him to check e-mail and other messages while out of town.
Burns typically calls the office daily "just to check and see if there are any problems," he said. Generally, there aren't, but it gives him some peace of mind.
It also helps that his secretary has worked with him for almost two decades.
"She can handle pretty much anything," he said. "If she calls me I know it is something serious."
Having co-workers like that helps people better enjoy their vacations, said Taryn LeGrand-Lovett, clinical director at Bootheel Counseling in Sikeston.
"People should really think about whether they can leave their work behind," LeGrand-Lovett said. "They should ask 'Is there someone else who can perform my duties?'"
While on vacation, people should set limits for how much time they'll devote to workplace issues, she suggested.
Mason tries to do that. "It depends on what you have to deal with," she said. She usually calls daily, but will check in more frequently if there is a big issue, she said.
To keep things a bit more flexible, she often checks in via e-mail. "It's a little more convenient," she said. "Usually I can take care of everything within five to 10 minutes.
Burns said he tries to check in at an unobtrusive time, that won't take away from his vacation. "I'll do it at lunch," he said.
There are other stressors that can impact vacations, too, such as change in routine, schedules and travel. LeGrand-Lovett advised people "think about what they want out of their vacation and plan accordingly" before they leave.
"If they want rest and relaxation, they probably don't want a full schedule of events," she said. "That's not relaxing."
Vacations change routines, so LeGrand-Lovett suggested people keep as many factors stable as possible. "Build in enough time for rest and eating right," she said. This is important to keep children from getting cranky, and also to maintain personal relationships with family members.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.