Many CFOs have trouble separating themselves from the office during their summer vacations, according to a new survey.

Robert Half Management Resources found 68 percent of the more than 2,200 CFOs polled said they typically are in touch with the office at least once a week while on summer vacation, a 20-point increase from a similar survey three years ago.

Approximately one-third (32 percent) of CFOs anticipate a clean break from work while on vacation, down from 51 percent in 2012. In general, the survey respondents indicated they are more likely to check in with the office daily than not at all.

By way of comparison, when CFOs were asked how often they check in with the office during summer vacation, their responses in 2015 and 2012 were the following:




Several times a day



Once or twice a day



Several times a week



Once or twice a week



Don't check in at all



Don't know/no answer






"Demands on CFOs, from regulatory compliance requirements to technology and growth initiatives, are at historical highs," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, in a statement. "While this reality makes it difficult for many to unplug completely, the key is to strike a balance. Before checking in with the office, executives should ask themselves if it's necessary, or if they are doing so when they should be relaxing and enjoying their time away from work."

McDonald recommeded setting the right tone for staff. "Employees understand executives will need to check in from outside the office from time to time," he said. "However, if professionals see senior managers overdoing it and feel pressured to constantly be connected themselves, they may start looking for opportunities offering greater work-life balance."

Robert Half Management Resources offers a five-step checklist for breaking away from work while on vacation:

• Set expectations: Tell your colleagues how much, if at all, you plan to check in and when. In turn, they will be less likely to contact you outside of those times.

• Tap your successor's help: Your vacation can be an opportune time for your protégé to take on higher-level projects and prepare for an expanded role. Make him or her your point person and the one you list on out-of-office messages.

• Trust your team: Although there may be some matters that require your specific attention, let your staff handle as much as they can. Bring in interim professionals to help keep key projects on track.

• Manage your return: While scheduling a vacation at a good time for the company is a no-brainer, also make sure your return is well-planned. For example, give yourself an extra day so you don't go straight from a red-eye flight to the office.

• Ease back into work: Allocate time when you return to catching up on email and other outstanding issues. Avoid too many meetings or commitments your first few days back in the office.

An infographic showing the surbvey results is available here.