As the summer holiday season draws to a close for 2012, most of us will be returning to work rested, refreshed and renewed … or will we?

A large number of companies routinely deploy IT infrastructure that enables a more-or-less constant connection for their employees. Indeed, Capgemini – in our parallel roles of consultant, technology innovator and outsourcer – actively promotes the advantages of “always connected” working – both in terms of how we function as a business and how we advise and deploy across our clients.

The technologies that need to be integrated: mobility, security, resilience, end-user enablement and more, are all now sufficiently mature. Businesses are confident that virtual walls won’t be breached just because their data is being accessed from a beach on the Gold Coast, a vineyard in Tuscany or a cabin in the middle of Yosemite National Park – which is great for the business but is it any good for the employee?

To my mind, it all depends on how you approach it.

There is no doubt that “always connected” technology can facilitate a very good work/life balance (“I can go to my daughter’s play this afternoon and complete that report from home later tonight”) or it can be a constant burden (“Before I go to bed, I’ll just check to see if Helen in the San Francisco office has responded to my email yet”).  The fact is that – while the business (and its service providers) set the policy, for the employee, it’s a matter of choice.

So, if you can relax a little more on your holiday because you are managing your mailbox daily and you know you won’t have a million emails to deal with on your return, then do it.

If dialling in to an hour’s conference call from your villa or your tent helps you close the deal and make this month’s target, the dial away.

You will know the balance and, more importantly, you will know the imbalance.

It’s up to you.