Professionals across the country are planning summer trips, but research suggests many financial executives will be packing their work with their sunscreen. In a recent Robert Half Management Resources survey, 68% of chief financial officers (CFOs) said they typically are in touch with the office at least once a week while on summer vacation, a 20-point increase from a similar survey three years ago.
Only about one-third (32%) of CFOs anticipate a clean break from work while on vacation, down from 51% in 2012. In general, respondents are more likely to check in with the office daily than not at all.
“Demands on CFOs, from regulatory compliance requirements to technology and growth initiatives, are at historical highs,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “While this reality makes it difficult for many to unplug completely, the key is to strike a balance. Before checking in with the office, executives should ask themselves if it’s necessary, or if they are doing so when they should be relaxing and enjoying their time away from work.”
• Set expectations. Tell your colleagues how much, if at all, you plan to check in and when. In turn, they will be less likely to contact you outside of those times.
• Tap your successor’s help. Your vacation can be an opportune time for your protégé to take on higher-level projects and prepare for an expanded role. Make him or her your point person and the one you list on out-of-office messages.
• Trust your team. Although there may be some matters that require your specific attention, let your staff handle as much as they can. Bring in interim professionals to help keep key projects on track.
• Manage your return. While scheduling a vacation at a good time for the company is a no-brainer, also make sure your return is well-planned. For example, give yourself an extra day so you don’t go straight from a red-eye flight to the office.
• Ease back into work. Allocate time when you return to catching up on email and other outstanding issues. Avoid too many meetings or commitments your first few days back in the office.