U.S. workers love-hate their smartphones while on vacation: Poll

6 out of 10 say checking emails helps them ease back into work

NEW YORK (Reuters) — More than one-half of workers in the United States would prefer a root canal than to work during vacation, but they cave in to bosses' demands by using mobile technology on their down time, a new Harris poll showed.

Mobile devices let people stay connected with work 24-7, which is both "revolutionary and a curse," said Terrie Campbell, vice-president of strategic marketing at global technology company Ricoh Americas, which commissioned the poll.

Nearly three out of four Americans admitted they would be angry if they lost their smartphone on vacation because they wouldn't be able to check in at work, the online survey released on Tuesday showed.

"At some point, employees need permission to turn off the work email, relax and re-charge while they're on vacation," Campbell said. "If they can't leave the office behind, what's the point of vacation?"

The poll of 2,071 U.S. adults showed Americans struggle to take real time off from work, with 30 per cent using their smartphone for work-related purposes while relaxing at their favourite vacation spot.

About 51 per cent would rather have a root canal than work while on vacation, but 54 per cent said their bosses expected them to stay connected during their time away.

About 67 per cent said family members get upset when a loved one works while on vacation.

Twenty-seven per cent also said they can access work files from a remote location and a similar number use their phone to keep in touch with clients and co-workers.

On a more positive note, more than six out of 10 people said checking emails while on holiday makes it easier to ease themselves back into work when the vacation is over.

And a similar number thought mobile technology has made their work-life balance better, not worse.

Latest stories