Tech addiction: workaholics bring work on holidays

26 Jul 2011

People used to go on holiday to get away from it all. However, new research shows that 73pc of smartphone, tablet and laptop-toting office workers will check their emails while on holiday, and 62pc admit their boss expects to be in touch with them while they attempt to enjoy the summer sun.

According to a survey conducted by the secure storage specialist Origin Storage of 1,000 office workers in the City of London, more than 50pc of those planning a summer break abroad will remain in contact with the office every day to ensure things stay on track during their absence, by checking email accounts and text messages.

Of this group, 32pc check their emails more than once a day and if you’re the boss, it seems you never truly rest, as 83pc admitted they will be in touch with their offices throughout their entire vacations.

Asked if they are paranoid or laid back, 39pc felt more stressed after checking emails while another 39pc admitted checking their emails would leave them more stressed. Another 32pc are undecided.

In a worrying new statistic, 51pc of those storing work on their laptops are doing so without any security whatsoever, with not even a password for protection.

The survey found:

·         73pc of workers phone, text or email their places of work during their holidays, of which 54pc will check emails at least once a day and 32pc more than once a day

·         41pc take mobile devices on holiday for work purposes

·         62pc expect their employers to contact them while away on holiday

·         44pc of respondents feel that being contactable gives them job security

·         51pc of laptops are left totally unsecured without even a password for protection

·         Only 26pc of these laptops will be encrypted

Speaking on these results, Andy Cordial, managing director of Origin Storage said: “We seem to have changed to a nation of workaholics. Only 23pc of our respondents have no contact whatsoever with work during their holiday, which puts them firmly in the minority.

“Although on the surface this may seem like a good trend, especially for cash-struck organisations, we deal with the aftermath from these industrious workers when company secrets have gone AWOL.

“The reality is that when corporate information is accessed from a mobile device, whether it’s personal or company owned, and it’s misplaced, there are consequences.”


Jane, City PA from Harpenden: “My director feels he can contact me at any time for the most inane of queries, ‘Where is the contacts folder?’ or ‘What time did you book me on my flight to Geneva?’ and I feel it’s an invasion of my privacy. I was even called off the beach by the hotel reception because my mobile was not picking up signal so my boss called the hotel directly.”

Mike, CEO from Barnes: “I absolutely expect to contact my staff when on holiday. If they don’t want the job, there are thousands who do. Myself included, can we really afford not to work all the hours in this economic climate? I think not. I know I feel better knowing that things are ticking over nicely while I’m away so I don’t come back to an unmanageable workload.”

Who is to blame?

Cordial concludes: “Who is to blame? Is it the employee who just can’t let go or the employer for making them feel that they have to be accessible in the first place?

“Regardless of why it’s happening, our advice to the corporate world is: if you expect to contact your staff while away then it is down to you to secure their devices.

“Especially as the Information Commissioner’s Office are under pressure to flex its muscle and fine up to stg£500,000 for data breaches.

“Take the opportunity to re-evaluate your security – especially of your mobile devices, and perhaps invest in some holiday insurance of your own.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years