Think Work Doesn’t Affect Your Holiday? So Did I.

Lee Dempster

23rd August 2017

Most people reading this will soon or have just gone on holiday. Now I am a very proud father of 3 young ladies aged 15, 16 and 21 and when booking our villa in Kefalonia we made sure it had Wi-Fi, a pool and was near a beach so all the serious stuff was covered.

I also decided it was going to be a cooking-free holiday, so we were all super excited about eating out and really exploring everywhere.


My personal preference and real intention is not to let work intrude on my family holidays and I’m lucky to have some great leaders who are more than capable of running the business in my absence. I just like to keep up with what is happening and had a little work I needed to do for a client. I am diligent on not working in front of the family, and I consider myself a relaxed guy who can close off pretty quickly from stress.

At 5.30 on our first day – after lounging around, swimming, lunch, more lounging etc. – we decided to get ready for an evening out. I have teenage daughters so know that the next hour or so would be lost. So I decided to check my emails.

“Dad – why are you working again while on holiday?’ My youngest daughter had come back out into the garden and caught me on my phone. But I had this covered. ‘How do you know I am working?’

She then sat down and explained how on every holiday, I take myself away each day and start working when I think that everyone else is distracted or doing something else. Most of the time it didn’t have an impact, but sometimes my mood would change as a result. I genuinely believed that I kept it all contained, so I asked her what she had noticed over the last few holidays.

This is her list.

1)      If it’s all going bad, they know as I go quiet for a few hours.

2)      While I’m working they don’t want to disturb me and feel they don’t have access to me for that period.

3)      They feel I am distracted by work and sometimes miss those spontaneous holiday moments and opportunities.

4)      They know something is happening at work if I am having to respond throughout a longer period of time. They make sure they only ask Mum things, not me.

5)      They worry about me and why I am not giving myself a break.

6)      I never ever tell them what is happening with work, so they can’t understand.

Now I love my girls, but in my day to day world they are frequently tied up with friends, social media, Love Island (argghh), gossip and once in a blue moon what may be happening with me. So these observations came as a powerful surprise when I genuinely felt that work never had an impact.

So clearly, I have been in blissful ignorance, or even perhaps denial, that I can sneak in some work without any impact on myself or others.

Will I do it again? Yes. Sometimes I just have to, but after this I will make sure I talk openly to my kids about work and give them an idea of what I am dealing with so they feel included and will let me know when it’s affecting everyone’s time away.

So here is my learn. By trying to not affect anyone I actually did the opposite by not being open about what I was doing. I really had no idea about the impact of my work on our family holidays.

 My question to you is, do you?