Global Workers Struggle to Disconnect Digitally During Summer Vacations, Suggests New Snow Software Study
Most respondents indicate that they take work devices on vacation, creating potential for burnout, IT headaches and increased risk
Stockholm and Austin, Texas – July 18, 2019 – As summer travel season moves into high gear, new data from Snow Software, the global leader in technology intelligence solutions, shows only 22% of workers intend to leave their employer-provided devices at home while on vacation. As technology continues to blur the lines between professional and personal lives, the study suggests taking work on holiday is the new normal despite the increased potential for mental burnout, device loss and data exposure. Ultimately, this always-on behavior limits IT’s opportunity to take their own vacations.
Most employees take their work devices on vacation
According to the survey of 3,000 workers from around the world, 34% report that they always take their work devices on vacation, with another 27% saying they bring them most of the time and 17% taking them some of time. There were also some notable regional trends around professional devices and personal travel:
- Workers in the Asia Pacific region have the toughest time disconnecting. They were most likely to always bring their work devices with them on vacation (37%), and also the least likely to leave them at home (18%).
- Europeans appear to have the best work-life balance with just 29% indicating they always bring their work device on vacation. However, 35% said they still bring their work devices with them most of the time, making it the most common response for workers from Europe.
- American workers have the most polarized approach to bringing work device on personal trips. While 36% report that they always bring their work devices, another 26% say they would never bring them along. US workers had the highest rate of leaving work devices at home out of all the regions.
New or senior staff are most likely to bring – and lose – work devices
Seniority also correlated to employee behavior, but with a twist. Half of executives and 46% of directors said they always take their work devices on vacation. At the other end of the hierarchy, 44% of interns reported always taking their devices.
These individuals were also most susceptible to having their devices lost or stolen. Interns took the lead with 65% reporting they have had a work device go missing on vacation, followed by 56% of vice presidents and C-levels. But more experienced workers were more likely to report the loss to their company, with 60% of executives doing so versus just 32% of entry-level employees.
Loss is the exception, but workers don’t always act when it does occur
A majority (58%) of the total global survey group said they have never lost a work device while on vacation. But for those respondents who have, a significant number did not report it as quickly as they could – or should – have.
Less than half (49%) of respondents said they contacted their company when the work device was lost or stolen. Of those, only 39% reported the loss immediately, while 24% waited until the next day and 19% did so within 48 hours. Just 1% waited until they returned from their trip.
IT teams need visibility, and vacation
“When workers take their work devices on vacation, it increases the potential risk of device loss for companies,” said Alastair Pooley, CIO at Snow. “However, even if employees leave their work device at home, companies could still be at risk. An additional challenge presented by the increase in the use of cloud services is the likelihood that employees will log in from personal devices and store sensitive data on non-work machines. As enforcement of regulations like GDPR increases, the real risk facing organizations is not losing an encrypted device, rather it is losing the data due to employee behavior. IT teams need to ensure they maintain control over the entire technology ecosystem.”
Beyond compliance and security concerns, there is a workforce risk when employees don’t disconnect for vacation. Studies such as the Allianz Vacation Confidence Index have shown that employees who skimp on vacation put themselves at risk for professional burnout and even clinical depression. Workers don’t just rob themselves of their own time off – they create an environment where IT has to stay connected around the clock to deal with personnel travel mishaps.
“We need to ensure everything works no matter where an employee is or what time zone they are in, so taking devices on the road during peak travel season does impact the IT team’s workload,” added Pooley. “While IT staff are a highly dedicated group and will often interrupt their own holidays to help in a crisis, everyone in an organization, including IT, should be encouraged to disconnect and refresh.”
About Snow Software
Snow Software is the global leader in technology intelligence solutions, ensuring the trillions spent on all forms of technology is optimized to drive maximum value. More than 4,000 organizations around the world rely on Snow's platform to provide complete visibility, optimize usage and spend, and minimize regulatory risk. Headquartered in Stockholm, Snow has more local offices and regional support centers than any other software asset and cloud management provider, delivering unparalleled results to our customers and partners. To find out more about Snow Software, visit www.snowsoftware.com.
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