Disengagement dilemma: Most regularly “check in” with work while vacationing

by | Jun 23, 2017 | Public Relations

As the peak summer travel season kicks off, millions of Americans will be heading on vacation. However, as PR and comms execs know all too well, unplugging from work and fully enjoying the experience will be a challenge for a majority of adults, according to a new consumer survey by Travel Leaders Group.

While approximately 94 percent of those polled “have taken or will take” at least one leisure trip this year, 62.3 percent of those individuals make it a point to check work emails and/or voicemail messages while on vacation. In addition, 31 percent of respondents revealed they leave vacation days on the table.

“The good news is that the percentage of those surveyed who say they forfeit well-deserved vacation days has decreased from 38.5 percent in 2014 to 31 percent today. However, there is a significant increase in individuals staying ‘plugged in’ to work while on vacation,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko, in a news release.  “Studies have shown that people who take vacations are happier, have improved mental and physical health, and are more productive. So our travel agents expertly balance each client’s needs for unwinding and de-stressing—whether 100-percent disconnected from work or only partially disengaged.”

Chacko also pointed to the positive economic findings from the survey. “More than nine out of 10 people surveyed will take at least one vacation and a vast majority will spend the same amount or more on their leisure travel compared to last year,” added Chacko. “What is a growing concern is the final implementation of the REAL ID Act and, specifically, states that are non-compliant. More than 42 percent of respondents don’t know if their state is compliant. If states are non-compliant, their residents will not be able to board commercial domestic flights with standard issued drivers’ licenses beginning next year.”

Key statistics and findings:

Checking in at work while on vacation

When asked, “When traveling for vacation, do you check in with work (check emails, voicemail, etc.)?” over 62 percent of those surveyed say they are plugged into work and checking on business at least some of the time. Only 37.7 percent of respondents say they “never” check in with work while on vacation; in 2014, that percentage was 51.1 percent.

Sometimes, usually just to keep ahead of my emails and messages 40.2%
Never, my vacation is my time to unplug from work completely 37.7%
Yes, I still need to be plugged in for work regardless 22.1%

Using all vacation time

When asked, “Do you typically use all your vacation days during a calendar year?” 69 percent state they do not leave any unused time on the table.
(Retirees were factored out of the following responses.)

Yes, absolutely 69.0%
No, I leave 1-2 days 7.9%
No, I leave 3-4 days 7.0%
No, I leave 5-7 days 6.9%
No, I leave more than 7 days 8.1%
No, I never take vacations 1.1%

Approximately 94 percent of those polled said they “have or will take” at least one leisure trip this year.

Nearly 90 percent indicated that the total number of leisure trips they anticipate taking in 2017 will be either the same or more than last year (30.5 percent say “more” while 58.96% say “the same”).

Also, close to 86 percent of those polled stated they will spend the same or more on leisure trips this year versus 2016 (39.6 percent will spend “more” and 46.3 percent will spend “the same” on leisure trips as compared to last year).

Traveling away from home

With the vast majority of survey participants indicating they will take at least one leisure trip in 2017, it was also important to find out how far they are traveling from home. Selecting all options that apply to their leisure trip(s) this year, the top responses were:

Travel within the U.S. and farther than a bordering state 75.0%
Travel internationally (Canada, Mexico and/or Caribbean) 39.8%
Travel within your home state 39.5%
Travel to a bordering state 33.1%
Travel internationally (Europe) 24.0%

When asked, Is your state compliant with Homeland Security’s REAL ID Act?” meaning (standard) state-issued driver’s license will continue to be a valid form of identification to board an airplane in 2018, more than 42% of those surveyed do not know.

I have no idea if my state is REAL ID compliant. 42.2%
Yes, my state is fully compliant 36.3%
My state has gotten an extension 8.5%
No, my state is not compliant 13.0%

See full survey results here.

The survey was conducted April 3 to April 30, 2017, and includes responses from 2,854 consumers throughout the United States.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter