The American Digital Tether to Work

An increasing number of Americans are losing out on vacation time. While one reason is the refusal to take time off (what?). The other reason is that they have an open portal to work which they carry with them on vacation. If you are an active member of our society today, you know what we are talking about. Digital devices connect us to work, creating an open communication line to the workplace that often remains open and running during a vacation.

Miami skyline

In days long gone by, telephones served as the only connection. If your place of work did not have the phone number to your hotel, they could not contact you. The arrangement created a separation from work difficult to bridge.

The first chink in the armor came with the pager. Most of us remember those annoying little precursors to the cell phone. The new technology meant that coworkers could always reach us. Pagers didn’t last long because mobile phones followed hot their heels. Within a few short years, not having a cell phone put you out of touch not just with your friends but with your place of work. Employers and coworkers expected to have a communication line to you that always stayed on. That alone disolved the disconnection from work, but it didn’t end there.

Summer Vacation Beach

After a slight lag, one much longer than the transition between pagers and cell phones, the modern mobile phone entered the scene. Your phone lost its identity. You could no longer call it a phone because it did so much more than just make calls. Manufacturers called them compact super computers. The public settled for the term ‘mobile device,’ thankfully. Then our little handheld phones got larger and larger, compactness no longer at the forefront of the allure. The larger the screen, the better our Internet connected mobile devices seemed.

Now, with the Internet as easy to reach as a spoken command to our palm sized computers, we are plugged into work no matter where we are. Emails can not only be checked but make a little bleeping sound and light up our screen to make sure we’re paying attention. Perhaps you don’t have to check those emails, but they’re right there, enticing you to peek. Tablets provide screen size, if a smaller mobile device isn’t your thing.

Straw hat, bag, sun glasses and flip flops on a tropical beach

Nowadays, while at your vacation rental, you can take a moment to answer emails, solve problems at work, complete a few tasks, make a call to that client you don’t want to drift away. It means that you can keep everything at work up and running while you are away. The question, however, is whether or not that never-ending connection is a good thing or a bad thing.

If you check the Internet for work-from-home-and-get-rich-quick ideas, they will often show someone sitting on a beach holding a laptop. Our dilemma is, why would you want to work there? Aside from destroying your device with sand, if the job is that good, shouldn’t your time at the beach be work free? We’d like to think so. In fact, we recommend ‘unplugging’ from work while on vacation. After all, time away from the office is designed to recharge your batteries. Freeing your mind from the daily responsibilities is what makes time off so inspiring and appealing.

A survey found that 3 out of 10 people take work with them on vacation. What kind of traveler are you? Can you disconnect from work easily? Is disconnecting from work the whole idea? Or, would you rather stay connected? Let us know in the comments below.

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