Vacation season: do Alberta CPAs truly get away?

Vacation season: do Alberta CPAs truly get away?

With the summer months here, many CPAs will be taking time to recharge on family camping trips, explore new countries or cities, or have some much needed downtime at home. But are CPAs really “recharging” on vacation?

To find out, an informal poll was held during CPA Alberta’s recent Elevate Your Mind Professional Development conference. Visitors to the CPA Assist booth at Elevate Your Mind were asked “how often do you stay connected to work during your vacation?,” in order to get a sense of CPAs’ vacation habits. The final results were:

  • Never: 23%
  • Sometimes: 38%
  • Often: 26%
  • Always: 13%

So, 77% per cent of respondents indicated they connect to the office even during their vacation, with almost 40% saying the check-in with work often or always. That is strikingly higher than the population at-large: according to another recent survey by Robert Half, 34% of Canadian employees connect with work at some point during their vacation and 65% do not.  That survey found the reasons for not disconnecting on vacation include:

  1. Gaining peace of mind that things were under control (55 per cent)
  2. Keeping projects moving along (51 per cent)
  3. Avoiding coming back to extra work (47 per cent)
  4. Preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress (25 per cent)

While these may be valid reasons for connecting to the office while away, it is important to remember that vacations are not only important, but beneficial. They have been proven to reduce stress, decrease  burn out, and increase happiness.

While there are many benefits to disconnecting completely, and anyone who can do so should, for many CPAs this might not be possible. Instead, try a work life-blending approach to limiting the amount of time working while away. Setting clear boundaries and rules for when you do connect, for what reasons, and for how long can go a long way. A Harvard Business Review article, The Right Way to Unplug When You’re on Vacation, has some great questions and strategies to minimize the frequency of work-related connections. Some highlights from the article include:

Plan by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What is the least amount of activity I can get away with?
  2. What do I still want to use technology for while I am away?
  3. Which accounts will I disconnect from?
  4. What do my fellow travelers and I expect from one another?

Prepare before you go by:

  1. Planning some out-of-cell-range travel
  2. Setting up a vacation email address
  3. Having a smart out-of-office reply
  4. Moving travel info out of your email
  5. Creating and sticking to a check-in schedule
  6. Packing only personal mobile devices
  7. Turning off notifications.
  8. Limiting access to work-related accounts

We want to hear from you. What are your strategies for disconnecting or limiting connection time on vacation?


If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, don’t be afraid to reach out.
CPA Assist, the profession’s health and wellness program, provides confidential counselling to Alberta CPAs, candidates, and their immediate families. It is designed to help CPAs, candidates and their immediate families address stress, burnout, mental illness, addictive behaviours, substance abuse and other personal or professional issues in order to ensure their well-being and the well-being of their communities, the accounting profession, and the public. 24-hour confidential support (toll-free): 1.855.596.4222  |

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