Robert Half Management Resources Survey: Most CFOs in Touch With Office During Vacation

Jun 16, 2010, 08:00 ET from Robert Half Management Resources

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- While most financial executives can't resist calling into work when they're on summer vacation, it appears that more may be making an effort not to, a new Robert Half Management Resources survey suggests. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said they check in with the office at least once or twice a week during their vacation, down from 74 percent five years ago.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world's premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, "During your summer vacation, how often do you typically check in with the office?" Their responses:

Several times daily


Once or twice daily


Several times a week


Once or twice a week


You don't check in at all


Don't know/no answer



"On the heels of this recent recession, managers recognize that while there is always more work that can be done, taking the time to relax and re-energize ultimately makes them more productive," said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "Even a brief respite can help executives recharge and refocus once they are back at work."

McDonald added, "While it is impossible for most CFOs to disconnect entirely, having a strong team in place makes it more manageable to get away. Executives who groom direct reports to take on leadership roles will have an easier time letting these staff members make business decisions in their absence. Disconnecting from the office also sets an example for employees, encouraging them to take needed breaks."

McDonald offers five tips to help managers ensure their time away truly feels like a vacation:

  1. Schedule ahead. If possible, aim to leave the office during a light period or when key staff members aren't on vacation. Those in the office won't be stretched too thin by your absence or feel the need to be in constant contact with you.
  2. Decide on a point person early. A few weeks in advance, designate a senior person you trust to manage day-to-day responsibilities during your absence.
  3. Notify contacts and clients. Before you leave, make certain clients and other business contacts are aware when you'll be gone. On your out-of-office e-mail response and voice mail, include the name of your colleague handling your responsibilities.
  4. Divide assignments. Unless the project requires the focus of your most senior person, you may want to distribute tasks to multiple senior staff members to ensure that work gets completed and to avoid overburdening any single employee. Also consider bringing in project professionals to cover large projects.
  5. Determine your check-in time. If you must check in, try to establish "office hours" prior to your departure. Provide your staff with specific dates and times you will be checking messages. Resist the temptation to always have your mobile device in hand while on vacation.

About the Survey

The national study was developed by Robert Half Management Resources. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportion of employees within each region.

About Robert Half Management Resources

Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals to supplement companies' project and interim staffing needs. The company has more than 145 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at Follow Robert Half Management Resources at for workplace news.

SOURCE Robert Half Management Resources