Fear of being forgotten forces managers to forego vacations

Sep 11 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Staff who are not managers tend to make full use of their vacation time each year, with executives and middle managers much less likely to do so, a new U.S study has suggested.

The workplace vacation survey of more than 500 HR professionals and just under 600 employees by the Society for Human Resource Management and CareerJournal.com has found that employees in a job for two years or less were more likely to use sick or personal days as vacation days, compared with employees employed for 16 or more years.

According to more than two thirds of HR professionals polled, executive-level employees with one year or fewer under their belts received more than two weeks of paid vacation/paid time off per year, compared with 50 per cent of middle management and 35 per cent of non-management employees.

New hires in non-management level were provided with two weeks per year of paid vacation/paid time off, according to 42 per cent of HR professionals.

"U.S. workers are among the most productive in the world, but no time away from work can lead to burnout, reduced productivity and higher turnover," stressed Susan R. Meisinger, SHRM chief executive.

"Utilizing flexible scheduling and technology can be an effective means for organizations to help employees take a much needed rest," she added.

"Even though they may qualify for more than two weeks off a year, middle and upper-level employees may feel they need to put in more time at work in order to move up the corporate ladder," argued David Patton, editorial director of CareerJournal.com.

"With the increased use of mobile communication devices and easy access to email, they can take the breaks they need while remaining in touch with the office," he added.

The long weekend vacation was again the choice of U.S. workers this summer, in lieu of extended vacations, and many workers using their vacations to get work done.

Survey results revealed that almost 60 per cent of HR professionals and 44 per cent of employees agreed that employees were opting to take long weekend vacations instead of being out of the office for longer periods of time.

While employees were taking shorter breaks to lessen the length of time away from job duties, 43 per cent of HR professionals and 30 per cent of employees polled agreed that employees often also combined business trips with personal vacations.

One-third of employees polled said they typically took work on vacation and almost half of HR professionals said employees felt personally obligated to stay connected to their organisation while on vacation.

Four per cent of HR professionals and employees said their organisations asked that they stayed connected to the office while on vacation. Increased access to communication devices had made it much easier to link vacationing workers to their jobs, it added.

Eighty-one per cent of HR professionals said their organisations provided a means to stay connected to the office, such as cell phones, pagers, laptops and Blackberries or other handheld devices.

And while employees did feel obligated to work on their days off, they still valued and wanted time away from work, it found.