As Wednesday marks the beginning of June and the summer vacation season, many professionals are gearing up for a long-needed break. However, a recent Accountemps survey found that approximately 33 percent of professionals feel they don't have enough vacation time to use.
Some reasons professionals don't jump on taking vacation days include:
- 41 percent not taking a vacation or taking fewer days off for being concerned about the amount of work that'd be waiting for them when they returned.
- 35 percent took fewer or no days off because they worried about colleagues taking on their workload.
- 41 percent admit to checking in with their office at least once or twice while on vacation.
Alternatively, professionals say they plan to take 10 vacation days, on average, this summer, and 29 percent plan to take more vacation days this summer than last year.
"Thanks to 24/7 email access via smartphones, the lines between work and personal time are becoming more blurred, especially while on vacation," said Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps, per a statement. "It's important to take a break from your inbox and use your vacation time to relax, so you can return to work with renewed energy."
"As a manager, if you rarely take your vacation days or you choose to check in frequently while on vacation, your team will model your behavior," Driscoll added. "Encourage employees to use their time off and disconnect from work to avoid burnout."
Additional findings from the Accountemps survey include:
- 48 percent of workers said their managers encourage them to at least somewhat to take vacations.
- 47 percent said their managers neither encourage nor discourage them from taking time off.
- 47 percent of workers ages 18 - 34 plan to take more vacation days this summer compared to 25 percent of professionals aged 35 - 54 and 17 percent ages 55 and older.
- 37 percent of men plan to take more vacation days this summer versus 21 percent of women.
- 36 percent of workers ages 18 - 34 check in with the office at least once or twice a day while on their summer vacation compared to 16 percent of professionals ages 35 - 54 and 12 percent ages 55 and older.
- More than half (55 percent) of workers ages 18 - 34 have skipped or taken a shorter vacation because they were concerned about their workload upon return. 36 percent of those ages 35 - 54 and 33 percent of those 55 and older have done the same.
Accountemps offers the following five tips for maximizing time taken away from the office:
- Cultivate a vacation-taking culture. Managers should create an atmosphere where employees feel motivated and encouraged to take time off to recharge.
- Plan ahead. Let your manager and colleagues know about your vacation plans well in advance. If necessary, your supervisor can bring in temporary professionals or arrange for others to cover during your absence. Block off time on your first day back to meet with your manager about critical updates and catch up on calls and emails.
- Assign delegates. Clarify to your manager, colleagues and other contacts who will take the lead on key projects while you are away. These back-ups can keep work progressing in your absence. Managers who delegate during vacations can also evaluate whether the second-in-command might be ready to assume more responsibility in the future.
- Disconnect from the office. Try to unplug completely while away to get the greatest benefit from your vacation. Managers can help by setting a good example themselves while out of the office. If checking in is necessary, establish one short window each day when you'll be reachable, and stick to it.
- Ease your mind. Put your work worries aside while on your break. You will return to your job feeling more energized and ready to tackle tough projects. And don't feel guilty about taking time off. Think of your vacation time as part of your compensation package – you've earned it.