What part of the word vacation do you not understand?

More than half of those surveyed said they will be working while on vacation.
More than half of those surveyed said they will be working while on vacation.ImageFinder via Forbes.com / Today

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By Eve Tahmincioglu

A growing number of employers are giving workers paid vacation time these days. The only thing is, many of you don’t understand what vacation is all about.

Vacation means taking time away from work, relaxing and recharging. That means, not working.

Unfortunately, more than half of U.S. workers plan on working during their vacations this year including everything from checking emails to doing actual work tasks.

A poll released this week by software company TeamViewer and conducted by Harris Interactive in May, found that 52 percent of those surveyed will be working while on vacation, up from 46 percent the previous year.

Here’s how the workaholic’s vacation/work schedule breaks down, according to the survey:

  • Reading work-related emails – 30 percent
  • Receiving work-related phone calls – 23 percent
  • Wanting access to a document on my home computer – 19 percent
  • Receive work-related text messages – 18 percent
  • Wanting access to a document on my work computer – 13 percent
  • Being asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague – 13 percent.

The worst gender for this vacation offense are men with 56 percent saying they were more likely to work, compared to 47 percent among women.

And the one group that can’t seem to get a break is single working Americans, who expect to be asked to do work by the boss more often than their married counterparts, 15 percent versus 6 percent.  

For many workers, the decision to keep working through R&R times, is about making sure jobs are secure and going above what’s expected in order to impress employers.

But that can be a recipe for disaster and may ultimately hurt your job performance.

"Rest and renewal ultimately increase our ability to be productive, it is essential to completely unplug when on vacation," said Susan Steinbrecher, a business consultant and author of "KENSHO: A Modern Awakening, Instigating Change in an Era of Global Renewal."

"Most people don’t take renewal seriously," she continued. "I believe our connected, always on, 24/7 society has lost the ability to recharge and renew without distractions. The minute you check an email or voice message while on holiday, you’re likely to get sucked right back in."

Some employers seem to realize the importance of vacation for their workers. The number of employers offering vacation benefits is actually on the rise.

Today, about 94 percent of employers offer paid vacation days to workers. And now, more than half of organizations provide paid time off as part of all-encompassing packages of days off, including vacation days, sick days, etc., compared to 42 percent in 2009, according to a report released in June by the Society for Human Resource Management.

And some firms are actually trying out unlimited vacation policies.

Alas, many workers still aren’t taking their vacation days seriously, or should I say, un-seriously.

"Today’s work environment of intense time pressures and limited resources means we are all required to put in extra effort, energy and time – which can create a lot of stress," Steinbrecher maintained. "This 'do more with less' work ethic means that if we don’t completely disengage when on vacation, we’re not fully recharging or refueling."

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