More Than Half of Executives Won't Check in With the Office During Summer Vacation; Major Shift From Two Years Ago
MENLO PARK, Calif., June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As executives plan their summer getaways, a lot more of them will leave the office completely behind compared to previous years, according to a new Robert Half Management Resources survey. Fifty-one percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said they do not check in with the office at all while on vacation, nearly double the figure from a similar poll in 2010 (26 percent) and up significantly from a 2005 study (21 percent).
The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.
CFOs were asked, "During your summer vacation, how often do you typically check in with the office?" Their responses:
Several times daily
Once or twice daily
Several times a week
Once or twice a week
Do not check in
Don't know/no answer
Paul McDonald, a senior executive director with Robert Half, noted that the continued trend of unplugging on vacation is good news. "It may indicate that executives have a stronger level of confidence in their teams and processes, and as a result, feel more comfortable skipping regular check-ins," he said. "With the prevalence of wireless networks and mobile devices, they know they can be reached easily if needed."
There are extra benefits to checking out, McDonald added. "Placing trust in a solid team to carry on without your guidance can help you identify potential candidates for succession planning and promotion."
Still, not every executive feels comfortable disconnecting entirely, as evidenced by the higher number of CFOs (27 percent) planning to touch base several times a week compared to 12 percent in 2010 and 14 percent in 2005. "Many leaders continue to oversee lean teams and need to monitor critical initiatives over the summer months, making frequent contact necessary," McDonald added.
While not every executive has the ability to unplug completely, those who can should. "By stepping away completely, people are more likely to gain the restorative benefits of vacation and return to the office recharged and more productive," McDonald noted. "Managers also set a positive example when they disconnect, since employees may be inclined to follow suit."
Robert Half Management Resources offers the following tips for preparing to leave the office:
Set and stick with your out-of-office messages. If you say you're not checking in, but then begin returning messages on vacation, you send mixed signals. If you're inaccessible, stay that way.
Clarify what constitutes a crisis. Your definition of a crisis may be different from those on your team. Be clear with staff about what situations require escalation and to whom. If you expect to be notified of emergencies, provide a way for people to reach you quickly.
Limit surprises. Don't expect staff to "wing it" while you're away.Set people up for success in your absence by giving them a heads up on what issues may arise and how they can address them.
Acknowledge great work. On your return, thank the people who helped the office run smoothly in your absence, including your assistant. Make note of their efforts in their next performance review.
About Robert Half Management Resources
Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level finance, accounting and business systems professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 150 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at roberthalfmr.com. Follow Robert Half Management Resources at twitter.com/roberthalfmr for workplace news.