Remote Work: Intruding on Holidays or Providing an Escape?

Susan Hall
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Coming from the newspaper world, the idea of taking a week or more off work during the holidays seems foreign to me. I find all that merriment gets really boring after a while anyway, and if you have to spend too much aimless time cooped up in a house with relatives ... well, that's been the plot of more than a few really terrible movies.

 

But a piece at GigaOm makes the point that with constant connectivity, especially through mobile devices, people tend to find it harder than ever to get away from work. Of course, that's assuming that they want to. Among the findings from a survey by flexible office space company Regus:

 

  • 64 percent of U.S. business people will work during the last week of the year.
  • 56 percent of those working will go into the office to do so.
  • Yet 39 percent believe workers will get very little done during this work time.

 

Another poll from cloud phone system vendor RingCentral shows 70.4 percent of U.S. business owners, executives and independent pros surveyed expect to work more this holiday season than last year. Only 14 percent plan to totally cut the cord, so to speak, from work. Meanwhile, a poll of small-business owners, who probably never get a vacation anyway, from the National Retail Federation and others found that half expect business to be better this year. For them, mobile devices might offer them the chance to get away at all.


 

But it's true that for those who work at home, setting boundaries remains just one of the challenges. And, as my colleague Don Tennant wrote recently, companies with ethnically diverse or international teams become enmeshed in deciding which holidays to celebrate and for which to give time off.

 

Though yet another poll finds that Americans have the least-generous allotment of annual time off - and tend not to take it all - checking with the office this time of year might mean merely that they can't stomach the thought of watching "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" for the umpteenth time.



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