More CFOs staying in touch with office while on vacation: Survey

5 tips for executives to make the most of time off
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 08/20/2010

Most financial executives can't resist calling into work when they're on summer vacation and it appears the practice is on the rise, according to a new Robert Half Management Resources survey.

Two-thirds (67 per cent) of 270 CFOs interviewed by the staffing firm said they check in with the office at least once or twice a week during their vacation, up from 58 per cent five years ago.

"While the rise of mobile technology is making it easier to stay connected, it is important for executives to relax and re-energize on vacation," said David King, president of Robert Half Management Resources' Canadian operations. "As the recent recession had companies doing more with less, taking the time to recharge and refocus can help professionals increase productivity once they are back at the office."

King offers five tips to help managers ensure their time away truly feels like a vacation:

1. Schedule ahead. If possible, aim to leave the office during a light period or when key staff members aren't on vacation. Those in the office won't be stretched too thin by your absence or feel the need to be in constant contact with you.

2. Decide on a point person early. A few weeks in advance, designate a senior person you trust to manage day-to-day responsibilities during your absence.

3. Notify contacts and clients. Before you leave, make certain clients and other business contacts are aware when you'll be gone. On your out-of-office email response and voice mail, include the name of your colleague handling your responsibilities.

4. Divide assignments. Unless the project requires the focus of your most senior person, you may want to distribute tasks to multiple senior staff members to ensure that work gets completed and to avoid overburdening any single employee. Also consider bringing in project professionals to cover large projects.

5. Determine your check-in time. If you must check in, try to establish "office hours" prior to your departure. Provide your staff with specific dates and times you will be checking messages. Resist the temptation to always have your mobile device in hand while on vacation.

"While it may be challenging to disconnect entirely, proper preparation will result in a smooth transition and also demonstrates that the company values employees enjoying a work-life balance," said King.

How often do CFOs typically check in with the office?

Several times daily:  4%

Once or twice daily:  25%

Several times a week: 15%

Once or twice a week: 23%

Don't check in at all: 32%

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