Do you have a 'worliday' mentality?

By: John McGarvey

Date: 28 October 2013

Take a worliday — man on beach{{}}

Nobody ever works like this on their holiday.

Having just returned from a holiday during which my smart phone and laptop accompanied me, it's interesting to read research that says nearly two-thirds of British small business owners are likely to use their mobile devices for work purposes when off work.

The research, carried out by YouGov on behalf of FreeAgent, found 62% of people who run small businesses with five or fewer employees are either 'very likely' or 'fairly likely' to access their mobile devices for work when they take time off.

FreeAgent reckons the results may suggest small business owners are increasingly adopting a 'worliday' mentality, where they combine work and vacation to keep in touch with important aspects of their business. (It's unclear why they've adopted the horrendous portmanteau of 'worliday' — I prefer the much more elegant 'holidork'.)

Freelancers are always on duty

As a freelancer, these findings chime with my own experiences. Because I work by myself, there's nobody else to answer urgent emails or reply to new business enquiries when I'm away. As a result, I make a point of monitoring my email and replying to important messages.

However, it's not healthy to be immersed in work, so I make a conscious effort to limit the time I spend online while on vacation. This means I don't do any work other than replying to emails. And if I think a reply can wait till I get home, it does.

Choosing not to switch off

"Our research shows that there are a lot of small business owners who choose not to ‘switch off’ when they go on holiday, but that’s not necessarily bad news," reckons Ed Molyneux, CEO of FreeAgent. "For some of them, staying connected is actually likely to be an important way for them to keep on top of their business and ensure everything is in order, so they can actually take a vacation in the first place."

So, although technology often gets a bad rap for making it hard for us to switch off from work, there's a positive side too. If it weren't for the magic of smart phones and mobile connectivity, many people wouldn't feel able to go on holiday in the first place. Me included.

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