Friday, May 20, 2011

Blackberries on Vacation?

I was interviewed by National Geographic earlier this year (yeah, I thought that was funny too). They were interested in a productivity topic. The question was whether executives should leave their Blackberries at home when they go on vacation.

As usual, my response was a little nuanced. But the basic message was that the productivity gains over the next year from a REAL vacation (i.e. leaving the Blackberry at home) easily outweighs the amount of work you get done while on vacation.

But that depends on a few factors. One, you have to trust someone back at the office to take care of things in your absence. If you spend the whole vacation worrying, you don’t get that refreshing boost that vacations are supposed to give you. But when you are planning your vacation, it’s too late to start thinking about this. If you are doing regular succession planning, you should already have your replacement identified and trained. This person should be able to cover your vacations quite well.

The second factor is what you are doing on vacation. If you are missing a gorgeous sunrise eating breakfast on the balcony with your family because you are inside checking email, then you are wasting a great opportunity for an emotionally refreshing boost. But if you are going to be sitting in a cruise ship cabin bored because you hate sitting by the pool, there may be some things you can get done to pass the time. It may even improve the vacation.

Of course, when the article came out, there were maybe two or three sentences that actually made it in. Typical for magazine interviews. But I thought the rest would interest you. Any other thoughts? Disagreements? Other conditions that I missed?