IT intelligence: Working holidays

Robin Fisk fights the temptation to take his laptop on holiday.

Twenty million Brits think it's necessary to take their work on holiday with them, according to a survey by alpharooms.com, and a third take their laptops. Three-quarters have taken a work-related phone call on holiday. No wonder resorts are banning phones from the beach to help us relax.

In common with many other people, I have a fear of being disconnected from office proceedings, and I want to lessen the shock of re-entry on my return from holiday. Imagine how the Prime Minister must feel.

But although you may be truly indispensable, it has been a humbling experience to discover that I'm not.

I like to take my laptop away with me. "We can watch DVDs," I protest. "We can find out about the area," I reason. "We can have music."

But that email icon is tantalisingly close. So I decide it would be better to find out what's going on and connect to the email system. "Wow," I think, "this is just like being in the office!" And I see that not much has happened except one email that winds me up and I wish I could be back in the office to sort out.

On the next holiday, I resolve to keep away from email. Instead, I ask the office not to call me, but to text any good news - I don't want problems. This is fine for the first few days, but after a week without a text I'm getting edgy. I give in and email the office to find out that everything is fine, and that lots of other people are on holiday too - which is why it's quiet, of course.

So tell people you're on holiday, switch on the 'out of the office' function, take a mobile for emergencies if you must, do something active such as scuba diving for the first few days (I hear there's no signal underwater) and relax. It will still be there when you get back.

 - Robin Fisk is managing director of software company Fisk Brett.

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